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OCT 101988 

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W. LINDSAY ALEXANDER, D.D., Professor of Theology, Congregational 
Union, Edinburgh. 

JAMES BEGG, D.D., Minister of Newington Free Church, Edinburgh. 

THOMAS J. CRAWFORD, D.D., S.T.P., Professor of Divinity, University, 

D. T. K. DRUMMOND, M.A., Minister of St Thomas's Episcopal Church, 

WILLIAM H. GOOLD, D.D., Professor of Biblical Literature and Church 
History, Reformed Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh. 

ANDREW THOMSON, D.D., Minister of Broughton Place United Presby- 
terian Church, Edinburgh. 

©eneral ©tiitor. 
REV. THOMAS SMITH, M.A., Edinbubgh. 






&ii^, imll^ memoir, 














Prefatory Note. . 
Balaam's Wish. 

The Unprosperous Builder. 


The Vanity of the Creature. 


Discouragement's Recovery. 


The Saint's Happiness. . 

David's Conclusion; or, the Saint's Resolution 


The Church's Blackness. 


Miracle of Miracles — 
First Sermon. . 
Second Sermon. 

The Touchstone of Regeneration. 

Notes. .... 

The Discreet Ploughbian. 

The Matchless Mercy. 

Notes. . . . . • 

The Sun of Righteousness. 

Divine Meditations and Holy Contemplations. 
Notes. . . . . • 




















The Knot of Prayer Loosed. 

Notes. ..... 


The Rich Pearl. .... 


Sin's Antidote. .... 


The Success of the Gospel. 

Note. ..... 


Mary's Choice. .... 
Notes. ..... 


The Christian's Watch. . 


The Coming of Christ. . 

Note ..... 


The General Resurrection. 

Notes. ..... 

333, 334 

SiBBEs's Last Two Sermons — 

First Sermon. . 
Second Sermon. 


The Saint's Privilege. 


The Witness of Salvation. 


St Paul's Challenge. 

Note. .... 


The Dead Man. . 


The Danger of Backsliding. 


Faith Triumphant. 

Note. .... 


The Ruin of Mystical Jericho. . 
Notes. .... 



The Demand of a Good Conscience. 
Notes. .... 


A Glimpse of Glory. 

Notes. . . . . 


The Pattern of Purity. . 


The Beast's Dominion over Earthly Kin 
Notes. .... 


533, 534 

The Church's Echo. 






Notes. ....... 560,561 

SiBBEs AND Gataeek. ..... 563, 564 

Bibliographical List of Editions of Sibbes's Works. . 563-565 

Glossary. ...... 565-568 

Names. ....... 568-570 

General Index. ...... 571-601 

Textual Index. ...... 601, 602 

Concluding Note. ..... 603, 604 

PEi:r .: 

The present volume includes the whole of the 'single' Sermons 
not already given, and the whole of the remaining writings of Dr 
Sibbes ; and now the Editor has to congratulate the subscribers to 
the Series, and himself, upon the completion of this first collective 
edition of the entire Works of this author.* 

In so doing, he takes this opportunity of repeating the expression 
of his obligation to friends and correspondents for valuable sugges- 
tions and help kindly rendered from volume to volume. It is for 
others to judge how far, with suph aid, he has succeeded in his 
arduous task ; he only knows that, without that aid, he would not 
have succeeded so well. 

In the Preface it was proposed to give, in a short essay, an 
' analysis' and 'estimate' of Sibbes as a man and a writer, together 
with a view of his 'opinions' and 'character' as reflected in his 
books ; likewise to try to shed a little light on his relations to others 
and theirs to him, and to guide the casual reader to the treasures 
of thought, wisdom, spiritual insight, tenderness, and consolation 
of this incomparable old worthy.t It will be found that all this 
has been forestalled in another shape — viz., in the somewhat minute 
' analysis ' of each important treatise contained in the ' contents ' of 
the successive volumes, and in the ' notes,' elucidatory and illustra- 
tive, appended to the several dedications, epistles, and numerous 
allusions and quotations, in combination with the full Indices and 
Glossary in the present volume. All of these have much exceeded 
the original estimate, and i^radically fulfil the promise and enable 
each reader to do for himself what at best could only have been 
done imperfectly by another. The Index of Topics has received 
anxious attention, and, incorporating as it does the original tables 
drawn up by Sibbes and his original editors, will readily guide 
to what may be handled and sought. The most cursory use of it 

* Cf. Preface, Vol I. page xiii. t Ibid. p. xy. t Memoir, Vol. I. p. xix. 


will reveal that the author gives forth no ' uncertain sound,' but 
definitely yet most catholically, scripturally yet most charitably, 
expresses his ' opinions,' which all bear the stamp of being convic- 
tions. He was a Puritan in ' doctrine,' but loyal to the Church of 
England with that touching loyalty shewn to the throne by illustri- 
ous contemporaries even when they despised its occupant. On 
almost every point of Theology the Works of Richard Sibbes will 
rarely be consulted ' in vain.' They are a casket of gems, and the 
lid needs but to be raised to flash forth wealth of spiritual thought. 
In closing his onerous labours, the Editor would, in a few sentences, 
characterise the Works now collected and completed ; and at once 
that epithet, which seems by universal consent to have been asso- 
ciated with the name of Richard Sibbes — * HEAVENLY ' — recurs. It 
is the one distinctive adjective for him. For if there ever has been, 
since apostolic times, a ' heavenly ' man, the meek ' Preacher ' of 
Gray's Inn was he. Emphatically, ' he was a good man, and full of 
the Holy Ghost and of faith' (Acts xi. 24) ; and in accord with this, 
he is pre-eminently and peculiarly a ' son of consolation,' a * com- 
forter.' This, I should say, is the merit of these works. The 
minister of the gospel and the private reader will find abundant 
' consolations ' for bruised, tried, despondent, groping souls. Nor 
is this characteristic a small thing. It must be a growing con- 
viction, with all who mark the ' signs of the times,' that the want 
of our age, in the church as in the world, is not more intellect or 
genius, learning or culture, but more reality of Christian life 
— more 'good' rather than more 'great' men. Perhaps there 
never has been a period — speaking generally — of more intellect in 
intense activity, if not in mass, more learning and diffused culture, 
than the present ; and certainly never was there an age of such thick- 
coming interrogation of all problems in all realms of thought and 
speculation. But these seem often lamentably disassociated from 
GOODNESS, from conscience, from spiritual integrity and truthful- 
ness, and above all, from Christian LIFE. 

For Sibbes, then, is not claimed the title of 'great' — so much 
abused, and indeed vulgarised — in the world's meaning. Weighed 
against contemporaries — Shakespeare, Bacon, Milton — he has no 
awful crown of genius. Placed beside other divines. Church and 
Puritan, he lacks the orient splendour of Jeremy Taylor, the massive- 
ness of Barrow, the intensity of Baxter, the unexpected wit of Thomas 
Adams, the exhaustiveness of John Owen, the profundity of Thomas 
Goodwin ; nor has he left behind him any great work such as that 
on the 'The Creed' by Pearson, or the 'Defensio' by Bull. In 
reading him, we never come upon recondite speculation, wide- 


reaching generalisation, sustained argument, burning eloquence, 
flashes of wit, aphoristic wisdom, not even, or but rarel}'-, melody of 
words. But a ' soul of goodness ' informs every fibre and filament 
of his thinking ; nor is there a page without FOOD for the spiritually 
'hungry.' He has few equals, and certainly no superior, for 
ingenuity in bringing 'comfort' to tried, weary ones, and in happy 
use of Scripture, his mere citation of a text being often like a 
shaft of light.* It should be noticed, that the very invariable- 
ness of Sibbes's excellence hides his richness and power, as the very 
commonness of the air makes us forget the wonder and the 
blessedness of it. 

In a word, Richard Sibbes seems ever to come to us fi'om his 
knees, ever brings with him a 'savour' of Christ, and beyond almost 
every contemporary approaches the office of the Holy Spirit, whose 
specific work is not to do 'great' but 'good' things, ever taking 'of 
the things of Christ and shewing them.' May the Master own 
and use this edition of his long-departed servant's Works in these 
' latter days.' A. B. G. 

* See ' Affliction' and ' Assurance' in General Index. 


VOL. Til. 



' Balaam's Wish' forms one of the sermons which compose ' Evangelical Sacrifices' 
(4to, 1640). [Cf. Vol. V. page 156.] Its separate title-page is given below.* 


In one Funerall Sermon upon 
NvMB. 23. 10. 


The late Learned and Reverend Divine, 

Rich. Sibbs: 

Doctor in Divinity, Mr of K a T H E R i n e Hall 

in Cambridge, and sometimes Preacher 

to the Honourable Society of 


Pko. 13. 4. 

The soule of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing. 


Printed by E. Purslow, for N. Bourne, at the Eoy- 

all Exchange, and R. Harford at the gilt 

Bible in Queenes head A Hey, in Pater- 

Noster-Row. 16 3 9. 


Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his! — Numb. 

XXIII. 10. 

The false prophet Balaam goes about to curse, where God had blessed. 
But God reveals his wonders in his saints by delivering of them, and 
keeping them from dangers, when they never think of them. They never 
thought they had such an enemy as Balaam. The church of God is a 
glorious company, and the great God doth great things for it. So long as 
they keep close to him, their state is impregnable, as we may read here. 
Neither Balak nor Balaam, that was hired to curse them, could prevail, 
but the curse returns upon their own head. 

These words I have read to you, they are Balaam's desire, Balaam's 
acclamation. Divers questions might be moved concerning Balaam, which 
I will not stand upon, but come directly to the words, wherein are con- 
siderable these things. 

First, That the righteous men die, and have an end as well as others. _ 

Secondly, That the state of the soul continues after death. It was in 
vain for him to desire * to die the death of the righteous,' but in regard of 
the subsistence of the soul. 

Thirdly, That the estate of righteous men in their end is a blessed estate, 
because here it was the desire of Balaam, ' Oh that I might die the death 
of the righteous ! ' 

Fourthly, There is an excellent estate of God's people, and they desire 
that portion : ' Oh let me die the death of the righteous.' These are the 
four things I shall unfold, which discover the intendment of Balaam in 
these words. 

For the first I will touch it briefly, and so go on. 

Obs. 1. The righteous die, and in the same manner outwardly as the 
wicked do. 

For Christ, in his first coming, came not to redeem our bodies from 
death, but our souls from damnation. His second coming shall be to 
redeem our bodies from corruption into a ' glorious liberty.' Therefore 
wise men die as well as fools. Those whose eyes and hands have been 
lift up to God in prayer, and whose feet have carried them to the holy 
place, as well as those whose eyes are full of adultery, and whose hands 
are full of blood, they die all alike, in manner alike. Ofttimes it is the 


The third is that, 

Obs. 3. There is a wide, broad difference between the death of the godly and 
of the wicked. 

The godly are happy in their death, for here we see it is a matter desir- 
able. This caitiff, this wretched man Balaam, Oh, saith he, ' let me die 
the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.' It being the 
object of his desire, it is therefore certainly precious, * the death of the 
righteous.' And indeed so it is; holy and gracious men, they are happy 
in their life. While they live they are the sons of God, the heirs of 
heaven ; they are set at liberty, all things are theirs ; they have access to 
the throne of grace ; all things work for their good ; they are the care of 
angels, the temples of the Holy Ghost. Glorious things are spoken of these 
glorious creatures even while they live. 

But they are more happy in their death, and most happy and blessed 
after death. 

In their death they are happy in their disposition, and happy in con- 

(1.) Hajopy in their disposition. What is the disposition of a holy and 
blessed man at his end ? His disposition is by faith to give himself to 
God, by which faith he dies in obedience ; he carries himself fruitfully and 
comfortably in his end. And ofttimes the nearer he is to happiness, the 
more he lays about him to be fruitful. 

(2.) Besides his disposition, he is happy in condition ; for death is a 
sweet close. God and he meet; grace and glory meet; he is in heaven, 
as it were, before his time. What is death to him ? The end of all 
misery, of all sin of body and soul. It is the beginning of all true happi- 
ness in both. This I might shew at large, but I have spoken somewhat 
of this point out of another text.* They are happy in their death, for 
' their death is precious in God's sight.' The angels are ready to do their 
attendance, to carry their souls to the place of happiness. They are 
• happy in their death, because they are ' in the Lord.' When death severs 
soul and body, yet notwithstanding neither soul nor body are severed from 
Christ. ' They die in the Lord ;' therefore still they are happy. Much 
might be said to this purpose, and to good purpose, but that the point is 
ordinary, and I hasten to press things that I think will a little more con- 
firm it. They are blessed in death. 

(3.) And blessed after death especially; for then we know they are in 
heaven, waiting for the resurrection of the body. There is a blessed 
change of all; for after death we have a better place, better company, 
better employment; all is for the better. 
There are three degrees of life : 
The life in the womb, this world, heaven. 

The life in the womb is a kind of imprisonment ; there the child lives 
for a time. The life in this world, it is a kind of enlargement; but, alas! 
it is as much inferior to the blessed and glorious life in heaven, as the life 
in the womb is narrower and straiter and more base than this life wherein 
we behold the blessed light and enjoy all the sweet comforts of this life. 
They are happy after death ; then the image of God is perfect in the soul. 
All graces are perfected, all wants supplied, all corruptions wrought out, all 
enemies subdued, all promises accomplished, waiting their time for the 
resurrection of the body; and then body and soul shall sit as judges upon 
the wretches that have judged them on earth, and they shall be both to- 
* See the Sermons on Phil. ill. 21. [Vol. V. pp. 143-152.]— G. 


gefcher ' for ever with the Lord.' I might enlarge the point much. It 
is a comfortable meditation ; and before I pass it, let us make some use 
of it. 

If godly men be blessed and happy, not only before death, in the right 
and title they have to heaven, but in death, because then they are invested 
into possession of that that makes them every way happy. 

Use 1. Therefore this may teach us who are truly wise. A wise man is he 
that hath a better end than another, and works to that end. A true 
Christian man, he hath a better end than any worldling. His end is 
to be safe in another world, and he works and cari'ies his forces to that 
end. ' Let my last end be like his,' saith Balaam, insinuating that 
there was a better end in regard of condition and state than he had aimed 
at. A gracious man, his end is not to be happy here ; his end is to enjoy 
everlasting communion with God in the heavens, and he frames all his 
courses in this world to accomplish that end, and he is never satisfied in 
the things that make to that end. A worldling he hath no such end. He 
hath a natural desire to be saved, — as we shall see afterwards, — but a man 
may know that is not his end, for he works not to it. He is not satisfied 
in prowling for this world ; he is not weary of getting wealth ; he is not 
satisfied with pleasure. So that his end is the things of this life. There- 
fore let him be never so wise, he is but a fool, for he hath not the true end, 
nor works to it. Wicked men are very fools in the manner of their 
reasoning ; for they will grant that there is a happy estate of godly men in 
death, and after death better. If it be so, why do they cot work and frame 
their lives to it ? Herein they are fools, because they grant one thing and 
not another which must needs follow. They do believe there is such a 
happiness to God's children, and yet seek not after it. 

Use 2. If there be such a blessed estate of God's children in death and 
after death, I beseech you let us carry ourselves so as that ive may be par- 
takers of that happiness : let us labour to be righteous men, labour to be in 
Christ, to have the righteousness of Christ to be ours, to be out of our- 
selves, in Christ ; in Christ in life, in Christ in death, and at the day of 
judgment in Christ, ' not having our own righteousness,' as the apostle saith, 
' but his righteousness,' Philip iii. 9, and then the righteousness of grace 
and of a good conscience will alway go with the other. For this makes a 
righteous man to be in Christ, and to have his righteousness, and to have 
his Spirit, and the beginnings of the new creature in us. Let us labour to 
be such as may live and die happily and blessedly, and be for ever happy. 
So much for that third point. 

That which I intend mainly to dwell on is the last, and that is this, that 

Even a ivicked man, a icretched worldliny, may see this ; he may know this 
happiness of God's people in death, and for ever, and yet notxcithstanding may 
contimie a cursed wretch. 

Balaam here wishes, ' Oh that I might die the death of the righteous, 
and that my last end might be like his.' It was a strange speech of such 
a man as this was, that his soul should be rapt up in this manner ; but 
indeed Balaam was scarce himself, he scarce understood what he said, no 
more than the beast that carried him. 

But God will sometimes even stir up the hearts of wicked men to a sight 
and admiration of the excellent estate of God's children. Why ? For 
diverse reasons. Among the rest for this, that he may convince them the 
more of their own rebellion, when they see a more excellent estate than they are 
in, if they ivill not take the course to partake of it. Therefore at the day of 


judgment it will justify the sentence of damnation upon such wretches, and 
they may pronounce self-condemnation upon themselves. Oh what a 
terror will it be when they shall think, I had a better estate discovered ; I 
heard of it in the ministry of the word, and God's Spirit revealed an excellent 
estate, and I might have gotten it if I had improved the blessed means that 
God made me partaker of, and now I am shut out for ever and ever from 
communion in that estate. To convince wretched men, I say, and to justify 
the just sentence of damnation upon them, that their hearts may go with 
the sentence at the day of judgment, God thus enlightens them oftentimes, 
that they see better courses if they had grace to take them. 

What a thing is this, that a wicked man should see such an estate and 
not take it ! And what serves that knowledge for but to damn them the 
more ! This is the estate of many men that Hve in the bosom of the 
church, and partake of the means of salvation, and yet Hve in sins against 
conscience. They get knowledge by the ministry, and by good books and 
acquaintance, and such hke. They have "a savour in the use of good 
things. Something they have, some little apprehension of the estate of a 
better life. 

Again, for another end God reveals to them the excellent estate of his 
children sometimes, to keep them in better order, to awe them, that they be 
not\opeii enemies to the church, hut may do good service; for conceiting 
that there is such a happiness, and that perhaps they may partake of it, 
they will not carry themselves malignantly against those that are true 

There are several degrees of wicked men. Some are well-willers to good 
things, though they never come far enough. Some are open, malicious 
persecutors. Some again are better than so. They have a hatred to 
goodness, but they do not openly shew themselves ; as hypocrites, &c. God 
reveals these good things to wicked men to keep them in awe. The net 
draws bad fish as well as good ; so the net of the word, it draws wicked 
men, it keeps them from violence and open malice. Besides, even the 
majesty of the word, and the conviction of that excellent estate that belongs 
to God's children, it keeps them from open malice and persecution. This 
is another end that God aims at. What may we learn hence ? 

Use 1. Seeing this is so, it should teach us that ive refuse not all that ill 
men say ; they may have good apprehensions, and give good counsel. It had 
been good for Josiah to have followed the counsel of wicked Pharaoh, a 
heathen. God often enlightens men that otherwise are reprobates. Kefuse 
not gold from a dirty hand ; do not refuse directions from wicked men. 
Because they are so and so, refuse not a pardon from a man, a base 
creature. We ought not therefore to have such respect of persons as to 
refuse excellent things because the person is wicked. But that which I 
intend to press is this : If this be so, that wicked men may have illumina- 
tion whereby they discover an excellency, and hkewise may have desires 
raised up to wish and desire that excellency, 

Use 2. It should stir us up to go beyond ivicked men. Shall we not go so 
far as those go that shall never come to heaven ? We see here Balaam 
pronounceth the end of the righteous to be happy. This should therefore 
stir us up to labour to be in a different estate from wicked men. Let us 
therefore consider a little wherein the difference of these desires is, the 
desires that a Balaam may have, and the desires of a sound Christian, 
wherein the desires of a wicked man are failing. 

(1.) These desires, first of all, they were but flashes: for we never read 


that he had them long. They were mere flashes ; as a sudden light, that 
rather blinds a man than shews him the way. So these enlightenings they 
are not constant. Wicked men ofttimes have sudden motions and flashes 
and desires. ' Oh that I might die the death of the righteous.' Oh 
that I were in such [a] man's estate. But it is but a sudden flash and light- 
ning. They are like a torrent, a strong sudden stream, that comes sud- 
denly and makes a noise, but it hath no spring to feed it. The desires of 
God's children they are fed with a spring, they are constant ; they are 
streams, and not flashes. 

(2.) Again, this desire of this wretched man, it was not from an itmard 
jmnciple, an inward taste that he had of the good estate of God's children, 
but from an objective delight and admiration of somewhat that was oftered 
to his conceit by the Holy Ghost at this time. It was not from any in- 
ward taste or relish in himself that he speaks, but from somewhat outward, 
as a man that saw and heard excellent things, that ravished him with 
admiration, though he had not interest in them himself. 

(3.) Again in the third place, this desire of the happiness of the estate 
of God's children, it was not ivorkinr/ and operative, but an unejfectual desire. 
It had only a complacency and pleasing in the thing desired ; but there 
was not a desire to work anything to that end. This wretch therefore 
would be at his journey's end, before ho had set one step forward to the 
journey. It was a desire of the end without the means. It was not an 
operative efi'ectual, but a weak transient desire. Where true desires are, 
they are not only constant, and proceed from an inward interest and taste 
of the thing desired, but they are efi'ectual and operative. They set the 
soul and body, the whole man on work, partly to use the means to attain 
the thing desired, and partly to remove the impediments ; for where desire is, 
there will be a removing of the impediments to the thing desired ; as he 
that intends a journey, he will consider what may hinder him, and what 
may help him in it. He that sets not about these things, he never means 
it, for a man cannot come to his journey's end with wishing ; we can attain 
nothing in this life with wishing. There is a working, I say, that tends to 
remove impediments so far as we may, and tending to use all means to 
efiect and bring the thing to pass. We see, then, there is a main difler- 
ence between the desires of this wretched man Balaam and the desires of 
the true chui-ch of God. To go on and follow the point a little further. 

(4.) Where desires are in truth, the party that cherisheth those desires, 
will be ivilling to have all help from others to have his desire accomplished. 
If a man desire to demolish a place, if any will come and help him down 
with it, or if any man desire to weed his ground, he that will help him, 
he will thank him for his pains. ■V^^lere there is a true desire, there is a 
willing closing with all that ofi'er themselves, that the thing desired may 
be brought to pass. Where there is a desire of the happy estate of God's 
children, there will be a willing entertainment of any help. Let a man 
come to a man that desires grace and glory, and discover his especial sins 
that hinder him, you must weed out this, and you must pull down this, he 
will thankfully embrace all admonitions, because he truly desires the end ; 
therefore he desires the means that tend to the end. He desires the re- 
moving of the hindrances ; he will be thankful, therefore, for any help that 
he may have, and especially that of the ministry, that it may powerfully 
enter into his soul, and rip him up. Why ? Because he desires to 
please God in all things, and he would not cherish a motion or desire con- 
trary to the Spirit of God. Therefore the more corruption is presented 



and made odious to him, the more the ' inward man ' is discovered, the 
more he blesseth God, and blesseth the blessed instruments ; and of all 
means he is willing to attend upon such. 

Where there is swelling and rising against the blessed means, either in 
private admonition or public teaching, let men pretend what they will, 
there is no true desire of grace and to be in the estate of God's people ; 
for then they would not be contrary to the means. This wretched man 
Balaam, when the angel stood in his way, with his sword drawn, to stop 
his way, yet notwithstanding he goes on still. He was so carried with 
covetousness, and so blinded, that neither the miracle of the beast speaking, 
nor of the angel in his way, nor God in the way, could stop him. Alas ! 
where was this desire then ? No, no ! The glory of earthly things 
dazzled the glory of the estate of God's people. Therefore we see he goes 
against all means that was used to stop him in his journey. 

If a man desire to be good, and to leave his sins, he will not stand 
against the means. 

Have we not many that stand against the ministry of God's ministers 
[who] are God's angels ? They stand in the way, and tell people, if you 
live in this course you shall not inherit heaven ; if you live in oppression 
and base lusts, unless you be changed, you shall all perish. They come to 
particular reproofs, and hold forth the sword of God's Spirit, yet men break 
through all and wreak their malice upon God's messengers. Is here a 
true desire when they are not willing to have the hindrances removed ? 
when there is not respect of the means that should be used ? 

(5.) Again, true desires of grace, they are growing desires. Though they 
be little in the beginning, as springs are, yet as the springs grow, so do the 
waters that come from them. So these desires, they grow moie and more 
still. They grow sometimes in God's children, that they will have no stop 
till they come to have their full desire, to have perfect union and com- 
ruunion with God in heaven. The desires of a blessed soul, they are never 
satisfied till it come to heaven. ' Let him kiss me with the kisses of his 
mouth,' saith the church,' Cant. i. 2. Oh, let me have nearer communion 
with Christ ! It desires in the word and sacraments to come nearer and 
closer to God, and in death then, ' Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly,' 
Eev. xxii. 20. And when the soul is in heaven there is yet nearer union, 
a desire of the body's resurrection, that both may be for ever with the Lord. 
Till a Christian be perfect in body and soul, there is desire upon desire, 
till all desires be accomplished. They are growing desires, as St Peter 
saith : * As new born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye 
may grow thereby,' 1 Peter ii. 2. It is a desire that is never satisfied, 
because there is alway somewhat to be desired till we be perfectly happy. 

(6.) And then they are desires that ivill not he stilled. A child, if it have 
not strong desires, it will be stilled with an apple ; but if the desires be 
strong, nothing will still it but the dug. So God's children, if their desires 
be strong, it is no bauble they desire, nothing but grace and inward comfort 
will quiet the inward man. It is a desire that is growing and strong. It 
will not be stayed with anything in this world, but will break through all 
impediments ; as a strong stream, it will never rest till it have communion 
with God. And therefore the desires that men think are good and earnest 
enough, that go on plodding in a constant course, and never labour to grow, 
they are no desires at all, no sanctified desires from a supernatural prin- 
ciple of grace. The desires of a Christian grow, and are never satisfied 
till he have perfect happiness. 



The three worthies of David brake through the host, and got the water of 
Bethel for David: ' Oh that I had of the water of Bethel,' 2 Sam. xxiii. 15. 
So where there are strong desires they are like David's worthies, they 
carry the soul through all impediments, they grow stronger and stronger, 
and are never satisfied till they come to the water of life. Let us consider 
these things, whether we have this desire or no. If we have but some- 
times flashes, inconstant, ineffectual desires, desires that grow not, that 
are soon satisfied, and are stilled with anything, alas ! these desires the 
Spirit of God never kindled and bred in the heart ; they are ordinary 
flashes, that shall serve for our deeper damnation. Therefore let us take 
heed, and not rest in a castaway's estate; let us not rest in Balaam's state, 
but labour that the desires of our souls may be as they should. 

Desires, I confess, are the best character to know a Christian ; for works 
may be hypocritical, desires are natural. Therefore we ought to consider 
our desires, what they are, whether true or no ; for the first thing that 
issues from the soul are desires and thoughts. Thoughts stir up desires. 
This inward immediate stirring of the soul discovers the truth of the soul 
better than outward things. Let us oft therefore examine our desires. 
And let me add this one thing to the other, let us examine our desires by 
this, besides the rest, 

(7.) Whether we desire holiness, and the restoration] of the image of God, 
the new creature, and to have victory against our corruptions ; to be in a 
state that we may not sin against God, to have the Spirit, to be ' new born,' 
as well as we desire happiness, and exemption from misery. Balaam 
desired happiness, but he desired not the image of God upon his soul ; for 
then he would not have been carried with a covetous devil against all 
means. No ; his desire was after a glimpse of God's children's glory only. 

A wicked man can never desire to be in heaven as he should be ; for how 
should we desire to be in heaven ? to be freed from sin, that we may 
praise God and love God ; that there may be no combat between the flesh 
and the spirit. Can he wish this ? No, His happiness is as a swine to 
wallow in the mire, and he desires to enjoy sensible delights. As for 
spiritual things, especially the image of God, and the vision of God, they 
are not fit objects for him, as far as it is a freedom from sin, but as he 
hath a conceit, oh they are goodly things to be seen, &c. So it corre- 
sponds with his disposition, but to be free from sin, and from the conflict of 
the flesh and spirit, and to be set at liberty to serve God alway, he cannot 
desire it so. Tell him of heaven, he loves it not. There is no gold, there 
is not that that he aflects,* therefore he cares not for it, he cannot relish 
it, he is not changed. Therefore it is a notable character of a true Chris- 
tian to desire heaven, to be freed from sin, to have communion with God 
in holiness. Other prerogatives will follow this. 

Let us therefore consider what our desires are, how they are carried, for 
desires discover what the soul is. As a spring is discovered by the vapours 
that are about it, so is this hidden state of the soul discovered by the 
breaking out of desires. They are the breath and vapour of the soul. Let 
us consider what is set highest in our souls, what we desire most of all. 
Oh, a Christian soul that hath ' tasted of the loving-kindness of the Lord,' 
accounts it ' better than life itself,' Ps. Ixiii. 3. It is not ' corn, and wine, 
and oil' he desires, 'but. Lord, shew me the light of thy countenance,' 
Ps. iv. 6. The desires of his heart are large to serve God, andto do good, 
more than for the things of the world. He desires earthly things, but as 
* That is, ' loves,' ' chooses.' — G. 



instruments for better things, and this is the desire of every sanctified soul 
in some measure. 

Let us hence make a use of conviction of the folly of base men, that live 
in the church, and yet come not so far as Balaam, that come not so far as 
those that shall go to hell. They turn over all religion to a ' Lord, have 
mercy upon us,' and ' Christ died for us,' and ' we hope we have souls to 
God-ward,' as good as the best, and to a few short broken things. They 
turn religion to compendiums, to a narrow compass, and make the way to 
it wide and broad, and complain of preachers that they straiten the way 
to heaven. 

This is the disposition of worldlings ; whereas, alas ! there must be a 
righteousness that must 'exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and 
Pharisees,' Mat. v. 20 ; there must be a righteousness from an inward 
principle ; there must be a strong, constant desire of righteousness, more 
than of any thing in the world, before we can be assured of our interest 
and part with God's people. Let us take heed that we delude not ourselves 
this way. 

But to come to an use of direction. How may we so carry ourselves, 
as we may have a spring of blessed desires, a spring of holy desires, that 
may comfort us, that we may have our interest and portion in the state of 
God's people? 

That we may have these desires, let us desire of God the spirit of revela- 
tion. Desires follow discover}^, for desires are the vent of the soul upon 
the discovery of some excellency it believes. Therefore let us beg of God 
the spirit of revelation, to discover the excellent estate of God's people. 
And because this is given in the use of means, let us present ourselves with 
ail diligence under such means, as where we may have somewhat of the 
kingdom of God, that the riches of Christ being unfolded, our desires may 
be carried to such things ; for there is never any discovery of holy and 
good and gracious things to a Christian soul, but there are new desires 
stirred up. Our souls are like a mill that grinds what is put into it ; so 
the soul it works upon the things that are put into it. If it have good 
desires and good thoughts put into it, by good means used, and by prayer, 
it feeds upon them. Let us alway, therefore, be under some good means, 
that good thoughts may be ministered unto us, that may stir up gracious 
desires for the soul to work upon. Let us be in good company. 1 Sam. 
X. 12, ' Saul among the prophets,' we see he prophesied ; and the heart is 
kindled and enflamed when we are among those that are better than our- 
selves, especially if their hearts be enlarged to speak of good things. But 
to come nearer. 

2. That we may have holy and gracious and constant desires, let iis 
take notice and make trial continually of the state and frame of our sotds, 
ivhich ivay for the present they are carried, in what current our desires run. 
If they run the right way, to heavenly things, it is well ; if not, take notice 
what draws and diverts and turns the streams of our desires the false way. 
Let us think what the things be, and the condition of those things that 
draws our desires down, and make us earthly and worldly, whether the 
pleasures or profits or honours of this life. The way to have better desires 
is to wean ourselves from these things, by a constant holy meditation of 
the vanity of these things that the soul is carried after. Solomon, to wean 
his heart from these desires, from placing too much happiness in these 
things, he sets them before him and saith, ' they were vanity and vexation 
of spirit,' Eccles. i. 14. Let us set them before us as nothing, as they 


will be ere long. ' Heaven and earth will pass away,' Mat. xxiv. 35 ; the 
world will pass away, and the concupiscence and lust of it. Let us con- 
sider the baseness, fickleness, and uncertainty of things that our souls are 
carried after, and this will be a means to wean them from them. And 
the soul being weaned from earthly things, it will run amain another way. 
Let us study, therefore, to mortify our base affections, and study it to pur- 
pose, to cut off the right hand and to pull out the right eye ; spare nothing, 
that God may spare all. That God may have mercy upon us and spare us, 
let us spare nothing. These ' lusts they fight against our souls,' 1 Peter 
ii. 11. 

And, as I said before, feed our souls ; minister unto them better thoughLs 
continually. Those that are governors of those that are young, season 
them while they be young with good things ; for while the soul is not filled 
with the world, and while covetousness and ill lusts have not wrought 
themselves into the soul, good things and good desires are easily rooted 
and planted, and gi'ow up in the soul. As letters graven in the body of a 
tree, they grow up with the tree, and the fruit of the tree grows up with 
the tree, and therefore the twigs break not with the greatness of the weight 
of it, because they grow up together. So plant good things in those that 
are young, inure them to know good things, to hate ill ways, plant in them 
blessed desires, and inure them to holy exercises and good duties, that good 
exercises may grow up with them, as the fruit with the tree. We see 
what a hard matter it is to convert an old man, to draw the desires of a 
carnal worldly man to heaven. When we speak of good things to him, his 
soul is full of the world. What is in his brain? The world. What is in 
his heai-t ? The world. So he is dry, and exhausted of all good things, 
and that that is in him is eaten up with the world. It is a great impro- 
vidence in those that govern youth, that they labour not that their desires 
may be strong to the best things. 

And let us all, both young and old, labour for heavenhj wisdom, that 
when good things are ministered to us from without, or good motions 
stirred up by the Spirit of God, to close with them, and not to quench 
those motions and resist the Spirit, but to embrace those motions, and 
cherish them, till they come to resolutions, and purposes, and actions. If 
we have a motion stirring us up to repentance, let us ripen it till it come 
to perfect repentance, till we repent indeed, and have turned from all our 
evil ways, and turn to God with full purpose of heart, that it may be a 
motion to purpose. If it be a motion to faith, let us never leave cherish- 
ing of it by the promise till our hearts be * rooted in faith.' If it be a 
motion to any other good thing, let us cherish and follow them to purpose, 
and embrace every motion, as an angel sent from heaven from God to 
a good end, to put us in mind, to invite us to good, and to drive us 
from ill. 

And because desires are fickle and fading of themselves unless there be 
some art in helping of them, therefore let us add to these things a daily 
course of renewing of our covenant with God, that this day, as God shall 
enable me, I have a constant purpose against all sin, I will regard no 
iniquity in my heart, I will have respect to all good ways discovered. 
Renew our covenants and resolutions of old. Saith David, * I have sworn 
and will perform it, that I will keep thy statutes,' Ps. cxix. 106. And as 
we determine and resolve, so make particular vows sometimes against 
particular hindrances, to abstain from such things. 

Quest. What needs all this ado ? saith the wicked atheist. Will not 

14 Balaam's wish. 

less serve the turn, but there must be these vows, and purposes, and 
resolutions ? 

Ans. No ; God values us by our resolutions and purposes, and not by 
ineflfectual glances and wishes. Will wishing help us take a journey, or 
to do anything in this world ? And can we not do anything in this world 
with wishing, and can we for heaven ? No ; certainly there must be 
resolutions, and covenants, and purposes, &c. What is the difference 
between a Christian and another man ? A Christian unlooseth his heart 
from base desires. Nothing shall tie him to the base world. But his 
conscience tells him that he is free from living in sins against conscience, 
and as for infirmities, he labours and resolves against them. Therefore he 
is fit to die and to resign his soul. Whensoever God shall take him, he is 
in a good way, in good purposes and resolutions. God values us accord- 
ing to our purposes and resolutions. David did not build the temple, 
Abraham did not offer Isaac, but they resolved upon it, and it was 
accounted as done. This is our comfort, that God takes the resolution for 
the deed ; and the perfection of a Christian is, that God accepts of these 
resolutions when he determines on the best things, till he bring his heart 
in some measure to that estate. 

Quest. What is the reason that many men at the hour of death will 
admit no comfort ? 

Ans. The reason is, their hearts were naught. They respected some 
iniquity in their hearts. They were in bad ways, and allowed some reign- 
ing sin ; and till these be mortified, we can minister no comfort. It is 
only the resolved Christian that is a fit subject for comfort. 

But to answer an ordinary let* or two that the devil casts in men's ways 
in these things. 

Obj. But doth not God accept the will for the deed ? Put the case I 
have a good will to do a thing ; though I do it not, God accepts that. 

Ans. I answer, God accepts the will for the deed, only where the impedi- 
ments and hindrances are impossible to be removed ; as, put the case a 
poor man would be liberal if he had it, God accepts the will for the deed, 
because he wants opportunity. But it never holds when a man can do it. 
God accepts not the will for the deed when a man hath a price in his hand 
to get wisdom, and yet is a barren plant and not a tree of righteousness. 
It is a sign of a naughty heart. 

Obj. Oh, saith another, ' God quencheth not the smoking flax,' Mat. 
xii. 20, therefore, though I have weak desires, all shall be well. 

Ans. It is true God doth not quench the smoking flax, but he doth not 
leave it smoking, but blows the spark, that in time it comes to a flame. 
Where there are beginnings of goodness embraced, it will grow from smok- 
ing flax to a flame. They are growing desires, as I said before. There- 
fore flatter not thyself that Christ will not quench the smoking flax. It is 
true, if there be a desire of growth, for then I must speak comfort to a 
poor Christian that cannot be so good as he would, but desires it, and 
complains, Oh ' that my ways were so direct, that I might keep thy statutes ! ' 
Ps. cxix. 5, With his desires, he complains that he cannot do it, and 
useth the means to grow. It is a good sign ; God will not quench the 
smoking flax till he have brought corruption into subjection in us. Let 
every good soul comfort itself with this, if thou have these blessed desires, 
God meets with thee, for he desires thy salvation, and Christ desires thy 
reconciliation, and it is the desire of thy heart, and thou usest the means. 
* That is, ' hindrance,' = objection. — G. 

Balaam's wish. 15 

Thou wilt not live in sins against conscience. Be of good comfort. We 
that are the ministers of God, and I at this time, bring the news of pardon ; 
Christ's desire and thine meet in one. 

Let us enlarge these things in our own deep and serious meditation. 
Alas ! for want of serious meditation in our hearts of such like truths as 
these, men perish and sink suddenly to hell. There is but a step between 
ordinary profane persons and hell, and yet they never think of renewing 
their covenants with God, and entering into the state of grace, but content 
themselves with that which comes short of thousands that ai'e now in hell, 
that have had more wishes and desires. Men put all upon empty things, 
' God is merciful,' &c. No ; God will not be merciful to such as bless 
themselves in ill courses ; his wrath shall smoke against such, as I said ; 
for in thus reasoning, they make a covenant with hell and death as much 
as they can. They that do thus forget God and good courses, and God 
will forget them ; they treasure up wrath, and God treasures up wrath 
against them. Let us take heed of Balaam's wishing, and labour to have 
such desires as may be accepted of God and comfortable to us. 





' The Unprosperous Builder ' is another of the sermons from ' Evangelical 
Sacrifices' (4to, 1640). Its separate title-page is given below.* G. 

* THE 

A Sermon preached upon the S*''' of 

November, in remembrance of Our 

Deliverance from the Papists 



The late Learned and Reverend Divine, 

Rich. Sibbs: 

Doctor in Divinity, Mr. of Kathekine Hall 

in Cambridge, and sometimes Preacher 

to the Honourable Society of 


Hab. 2. 12. 

Woe to him that buildeth a Towne with blood, and 
establisheth a Citie by Iniquity. 


Printed by T. B. for N. Bourne, at the Eoyall Exchange, 

and R. Harford, at the guilt Bible in Queenes-head 

Alley in Pater-noster-Eow. 1639. 


Cursed be the man before the Lord that riseth up and builds this city Jericho: 
he shall lay the foundation of it in his first-born, and in his youngest son set 
up the gates thereof. — Joshua VI. 26.* 

The words are a terrible denunciation of a curse of the man of God 
Joshua ; wherein you have the curse generally set down — ' Cursed be the 
man before the Lord that riseth to build this city Jericho ' — and then a 
specification in particular, wherein the curse stands. The two branches 
of the curse are these, * He shall lay the foundation of it in his first-born, 
and in his youngest son set up the gates thereof.' It shall be with the 
raisingf out of his posterity. So that the text is nothing else but a terrible 
denunciation, under a curse, of the destruction of the family of that person 
that should labour to build up Jericho again. I will not speak much of 
cursing or blessing, being not pertinent to my purpose, only to give a 
touch of it. As in blessing there are three things considerable, that come 
near one another, — there is a blessing, a prayer, and a prophecy : the 
prayer is for a blessing to come ; the prophecy is of the certainty of it, 
that it shall be ; the blessing is an efiicacious application of the thing to 
the person ; I mean those three, because the one gives light to the other, — 
so is it likewise in cursing : there is a prayer that God would pour forth 
his vengeance upon the enemies of the church, and a prophetical predic- 
tion that God will do it ; and a cursing, when it comes from a qualified 
person, that is led by a better spirit than his own ; for every one is not fit 
to cast these bolts. Cursing is an efficacious application of the curse to the 
person ; when a man is, as it were, the declarative instrument whereby 
God works and brings the curse upon the person. So that we must 
account a curse to be a wondrous deep thing. The persons qualified for 
cursing or blessing, they are parents, either politic, as magistrates, or 
parents natural, to curse or bless their children, as we see in Noah, — 
' Cursed be Ham,' &c.. Gen. ix. 25, — or else parents spiritual, whose 
office it is indeed especially to bless or curse. It is a greater matter than 
the world takes it for, a blessing or a curse, especially from a spiritual 
father. The apostles, that were spiritual fathers of the church, they began 
their epistles with blessings ; and so the prophets and patriarchs. 

Therefore we should regard the blessing that God gives by his ministers. 
* Misprinted ' 10.'— G. t Qu. 'razing?'— Ed. 


Some are ready to run out before the blessing, as not esteeming either 
blessing or curse. Luther, a man of great parts and grace, saith of him- 
self, ' That if a man of God should speak anything terrible to him, and 
denounce anything against him, he knew not how to bear it, it would be 
BO terrible' («). The Jesuits themselves, amongst the rest one De Lapide, 
he saith, ' The priest cannot sooner come into the pulpit, but if there be a 
nobleman there, down he falls, and all look for the blessing of the priest' 
{b). The devil is always in extremes, either to drive people to supersti- 
tion, or else to profaneness and atheism ; either to regard the blessing of 
those whom they should not regard, or not to regard any blessing at all ; 
not to regard that good men should pray for them or their children. If 
the devil can bring men to hell by either extremes, he hath his will. As 
for the blessing of Eome, we expect it not ; and for their curse, we need 
care no more for it than an armed man needs to care for a headless arrow 
or for a child's pop-gun.* But those men that come in the name of God, 
and are qualified with callings to pray and to bless, their prayers and 
blessings are highly to be esteemed; and so likewise their curses. I would 
it were more esteemed; it would be a means to convey God's blessing more 
than it is. 

* Cursed be the man before the Lord.' 

Take this caution by the way : though Joshua were a man of God, he 
was a mixed person; he was both a magistrate and, in some sort, a 
minister. As we say of kings, they are mixed persons, they are keepers 
of both tables : custodes utriusque tabula;. There is more in the supreme 
magistrate than is common. Every one must not take upon him to curse 
upon every motion of the flesh ; for here it is not, as one of the ancients 
saith well, * the wrath of a man in commotion and fury, but the sentence 
of a man in a peaceable temper, who is the conveyer of God's curse' (c). 
It is passive here as well as active. 

In the New Testament we are commanded to bless and not to curse. 
It is a common fault upon every distemper to fall a cursing; and ofttimes 
it lights, as an arrow shot upwards, upon the head of the curser. We are 
people of God's blessing, all true believers; and we should delight in 
blessing. Having felt the blessing of God ourselves upon our souls, we 
should be moved to blessing, both by way of gratitude to those that are 
our superiors and have done us good, that God would bless them, and by 
way of amity and friendship to those that are under us or about us, and 
by way of mercy to our very enemies. We should pray for and bless our 
very enemies themselves, as our blessed Saviour prayed for them that 
cursed him. This should be our ordinary disposition, we should be all 
for blessing. As for curses, we must take heed that we direct them not 
against any particular person; we have no such warrant, though the 
primitive church pronounced a curse against Julian, a notable enemy [d) ; 
and St Paul, he cursed Alexander the coppersmith, 2 Tim. iv. 14. But 
for us this time, the safest way is to pronounce all those curses in the 
Psalms and elsewhere in Scripture upon the implacable and incorrigible 
enemies of the church, the whole body of the malignant church, and so 
we should not err. I will not dwell longer upon this argument, only I 
thought good to remember you to regard the blessing of those that have 
the Spirit of God to bless, especially that have a calling to do it; and to 
take heed of cursing. But to come to the particulars. 

' Cursed be the man before the Lord.' 

* Misprinted ' pot.' — G. 


That is, let him be cursed indeed. That that is done before the Lord 
is truly and solemnly done. This was a solemn curse, a heavy curse, and 
it did truly light upon him. And let him be cursed before the Lord, how- 
ever the world bless him ; as a man cannot do such a thing as to build a 
city, but the world will commend a man for doing such a thing, but it is 
no matter for the world's commendation, if a man set upon a cursed cause. 
So much for the phrase, ' Cursed be the man before the Lord ;' that is, he 
is truly and solemnly cursed, and cursed before the Lord, though men bless 

* That riseth and builds this city Jericho.' 

That is the cause why he should be cursed, because he would build that 
city that God would have to be a perpetual monument of his justice. Why 
would not God have Jericho built again ? 

1. God would not have it built up, partly hecause he would have it a 
perpetual remembrance of his goodness and merciful dealing with his people, 
passing over Jordan, and coming freshly into Canaan ; for we are all sub- 
ject to forget. Therefore it is good to have days set apart for remem- 
brance and somewhat to put us in mind, as they had many things in old 
time to help memory. If this city had been built again, the memory of it 
would have been forgotten; but lying all waste and desolate, the passen- 
gers by would ask the cause — as God speaks of his own people, — What is 
the reason that this city lies thus ? — and then it would give them occasion 
of speaking of the mercy of God to his people. And likewise it would 
give occasion to speak of the justice of God against the idolatrous inhabi- 
tants, whose sins were grown ripe. God foretold in Genesis that the sins 
of the Amorites was not yet ripe ; but now their sins were ripe, they were 

2. And Hkewise it was dedicated to God as the firstfndts. Being one of 
the chief mother cities of the land, it was dedicate and consecrated to God 
as a thing severed; it was to be for ever severed from common use. 
There are two ways of severing things from common use : one by way of 
destruction, as here the city of Jericho; another by way of dedication, as 
the gold of Jericho. God would have this city severed from common use, 
as a perpetual monument and remembrance of his mercy and justice. 

3. And likewise he would have it never built up again, /o/- terror to the 
rest of the inhabitants ; for usually great conquerors set up some terrible 
example of justice to terrify others. Now, this being one of the first cities 
after their passing over Jordan, God would have the destruction of it to 
strike terror, together with this sentence of a curse, upon all that should 
build it again for ever. 

4. And then that this terrible sentence might be a means to draw others 
to come in to God's people to join with them, and submit, and prevent their 
destruction, seeing how terribly God had dealt with Jericho. Many such 
reasons may be probably alleged ; but the main reason of reasons, that 
must settle our consciences, God would have it so. Joshua he was but 
God's trumpet and God's instrument to denounce this curse, ' Cursed be 
the man before the Lord that shall build up this city Jericho.' We must 
rest in that. I will go over the words, and then make application after- 
wards to the occasion. 

I come to the specification of the curse, wherein it stands : * He shall lay 
the foundation thereof in his first-bom.' 

If any man will be so venturous to build it up again, as one Hiel did, in 
1 Kings xvi. 34, if any man will be so audacious, he shall do it with the 


peril of the life of his first-begotten ; and if he will not desist then, he shall 
finish the gates of it, he shall make an end of it, with the death of his 
younger son. It is God's custom to denounce a threatening of a curse 
before he execute it. It is a part of God's mercy and of his blessing, that 
he will curse only in the threatening; for therefore he curseth, that he 
might not execute it; and therefore he threateneth, that he might not 
smite; and when he smites, he smites that he might not destroy; and 
when he kills the body, it is that he might not destroy the soul; as 
1 Cor. xi. 32, ' Therefore some of you are weak, and sick, and some 
sleep, that you might not be condemned with the world.' Thus God is 
merciful, even till it comes to the last upshot, that men by their rebellions 
provoke him. God's mercy strives with the sins of men. Mark here the 
degrees of it: first, God threatens the curse, 'Cursed be the man;' and 
then in the particulars, he begins with the eldest son. First, there is a 
threatening; and when the execution comes, he takes not all his sons 
away at once, but begins with the eldest ; and if that will not do, he goes 
to the youngest. 

This carriage of God, even in his threatenings, it should put us in mind 
of God's mercy, and likewise it should move us to meet God presently, 
before any peremptory decree be come forth, as we shall see afterward ; for 
if we leave not sinning, God will never leave punishing. He might have 
desisted in the death of his first son ; but if that will not be, God will 
strike him in his youngest son, and sweep away all between ; for so we 
must understand it, that both elder, and younger, and all should die. 

Now for the judgment itself. 

* He shall lay the foundation thereof in his first-born.' 

There is some proportion between the judgment and the sin. The sin 
was to raise up a building, a cursed city, contrary to God's will. The 
punishment is in pulHng down a man's own building ; for children, accord- 
ing to the Hebrew word, are the building, the pillars of the house (e) ; and 
since he would raise up a foundation and building contrary to God's mind, 
God would pull up his foundation. Cities are said to have life, and to 
grow, and to have their pitch, and then to die like men ; and, indeed, they 
do : observing only a proportion of time, they are of longer continuance, 
but otherwise cities live and grow and die and have their period as men 
have.* Now he that would give life to a city, that God would have buried 
in its own ruins, God would have his sons die ; he would have his sons 
as it were buried under the ruins of that city that he would build in spite 
of God, that would give life to that city that was cursed. Ofttimes we may 
read our very sins in our punishments, there is some proportion. But to 
go on to the particulars. 

* He shall lay the foundation in his first-born.' 

A heavy judgment, because the first-born, as you know he saith of 
Keuben, he was his strength ; and he was king and priest in the family. 
The first-born had a double portion, he was redeemed with a greater price, 
as we see in Moses's law, than other sons. It was a heavy judgment to 
have his first-born smitten in this fashion, to be taken away. 

If any ask why God was so severe, that he did not punish Hiel in him- 
self, but take away his children, it may seem against reason. 

But we must not dispute with God, for we must know that God hath the 
supreme power of life and death. 

* Cf. Dr Vanghan's ' Ages of Great Cities,' wherein this truth is eloquently 
illustrated and enforced. — G. 


Then we must know again that children are part of their parents ; God 
punisheth the parents in their children, and it is a heavier punishment oft- 
times in their esteem than in themselves, for they think to live and con- 
tinue in their children. Now when they see their children took away it is 
worse than death. Men ofttimes live to see things worse than death, as 
those that see their children killed before them, as Zedekiah and Mauritius, 
the emperor, for indeed it is a death oft (/) ; a man dies in every child. This 
man he died in his eldest son, and he died in his youngest son ; he died in 
regard of the apprehension of death. It was more sharp in apprehension 
than when he died himself. So it is a heavy judgment to be stricken in 
our children. God, when he will punish, he punisheth ofttimes in pos- 
terity ; as we see it was the most terrible judgment of all upon Pharaoh, that 
in his first-born ; God drew them all to let Israel go out, when ' he smote their 
first-born.' It is a heavy judgment for a man to be stricken in his first- 
born, either when they are dissolute, and debauched, and lawless, for God 
hath judgments for the soul as well as for the body, or else when they are 
taken out of the world. 

But, thirdly, which is very likely another reason that moved God, — that 
we may justify God in all our sentence that we give of him, — he took them 
away, because they imitated their father in ill ; and God hath a liberty to 
strike when he will, when there is cause ; and whom he will, he will spare 
for so many generations. 

Quest, You will say. Why doth he light on such a generation ? and why 
not on such a place ? 

Ans. It is his liberty and prerogative, when all deserve it ; and he lights 
upon one and not upon another. We must not quarrel with God, but leave 
him to his liberty. It is a part of his prerogative, * Who art thou, 
man, that disputest ? ' Kom. ix. 20. Why God, when all are equally sin- 
ners, strikes one and not another ; why he executes judgments in one age 
and not in another ; there may be reasons given of it ; but it is a mystery 
that must not be disputed. But I cannot stand on these things. 

* He shall lay the foundation thereof in his first-born, and in his youngest 
son set up the gates thereof.' 

This terrible sentence we see executed in 1 Kings xvi. 34. In Ahab's 
time, there was one so venturous as to build Jericho again. There is an 
accent* to be set upon that, that it was in Ahab's time. Hiel would 
needs build Jericho again ; and why should he build it ? Hiel no doubt 
saw it a wondrous commodious place to found a city, being near to Jordan. 
And then he saw and considered that it was accounted a famous thing to 
be founder of a city. And then no doubt he thought that Ahab would not 
only permit him to do it, but [itj would gratify him : wicked Ahab, which had 
sold himself to work wickedness ; that was an abominable idolater himself, 
and countenanced idolatry, and had set up the false worship of Baal. It 
was likely enough in his time that Jericho should be built ; and therefore, 
no doubt but he did it partly to insinuate himself with Ahab. And to 
shew how little he cared for Joshua's or Jehovah's threatening, as usually 
such impudent persons that are grown up with greatness, that have sold 
themselves to be naught,f that have put off all humanity and modesty, they 
are fittest to carry wicked and desperate causes, being agreeable to them. 
So this wicked person was a fit man to do this, and he thought to please 
Ahab by it. 

Man is a strange creature, especially in greatness of riches or place, &c. 
* That is, ' emphasis', — G. t That is, ' naughty' == wicked. — G. 


A piece of earth that will be puffed up, if he have flatterers and sycophants 
about him, and a proud heart withal, he will forget, and dare the God of 
heaven, and trample under foot all threatenings and menaces whatsoever. 
As this wicked Hiel, rather than he will miss of his will, he will break 
through thick and thin, and redeem the fulfilling of his will with the loss of 
his own soul, and of his children, his first-born, and his last and all. Mens 
tnihi pro regno ; let a man be happy in his will, he cares not for all the 
world. If he may have his will, let all go upon heaps. This is the nature 
of man. One would think that this threatening might have scared a man 
that had loved himself, or his posterity. But nothing would keep him, he 
would venture upon it, as we see in that place, 1 Kings xvi. 34. Thus we 
have passed over the words. 

To come to handle the words by way of analogy, how they may agree to 
other things by way of proportion, and in a spiritual mystical sense. 

There are divers degrees of men that venture upon curses, and there- 
upon grow to be cursed themselves. Even as this man ventured upon the 
building of Jericho, so there be many that do the like in a proportion- 
able kind. I shall name some few. 

God did determine that the Jewish ceremonies should determine and have 
an end and period. Now, in St Paul's time, there were many that would put 
life into them, and join them with the gospel. St Paul tells them, * Christ 
shall profit you nothing,' Gal. v. 2. Those are they that build Jericho 
again, that revive and put life into that that God hath determined should 
never revive again. When the Jewish ceremonies were honourably interred, 
and laid in their graves, these men would raise them out of their graves 
again, and so venture upon God's curse, and be excluded from Christ. 
These are one sort of men that raise Jericho again ; and so afterwards in 
the church, there were those that would build up Jericho, that would still 
retain Jewish ceremonies, and heathenish in the church, and some at the 
first with no ill minds. But then afterwards, as Augustine complains, they 
so pestered the church with Jewish and heathenish ceremonies, that the 
Jews' condition was better than theirs, for these things should have been 
buried {g). Gerson, that had many good things in him, though he lived 
in ill times, * Oh,' saith he, ' good Augustine, dost thou complain of those 
times ? what wouldst thou have said if thou hadst lived now ?' (h) What 
is popery but a mass of Jewish and heathenish ceremonies, besides some 
blasphemies that they have ? I speak concerning what they differ from ours, 
which are decent and orderly. What a mass of ceremonies and fooleries 
have they, to mislead men that are taken away with fancies to distaste 
the truth of God, and to have respect to fancies, to outward pomp and gor- 
geous things, rather than the gospel ? These men build up Jericho again, 
and bury the gospel as much as they can. 

There are another sort of men that raise up Jericho, that revive all the 
heresies that were damned to hell by the ancient Councils. The heresy of 
Pelagius was damned to hell by the ancient councils. The African coun- 
cils, divers of them, divers synods, wherein Augustine himself was a party, 
they condemned Pelagius's heresy.* Are there not men now abroad that 
will revive these heresies ? And there must be expected nothing but a 
curse where this prevails ; for they are opinions cursed by the church of 
God, that have been led by the Spirit of God heretofore ; such opinions, I 
mean, as speak meanly of the grace of God, as if it were a weak thing, and 
advance the strength of free-will, and make an idol of that ; and so, under 
* Cf. Note/, Vol. II. page 194.— G. 


the commendation, and setting up of nature, are enemies of grace. These 
are those that build up Jericho. 

3. There are a company that build up Jericho likewise, persoyis that ivill 
venture upon the curse of founders of colleges, dc, those that have left statutes, 
and testaments, and wills, established and sealed them with a curse, as it 
were, against the breakers of them ; yet some make no more bones of 
breaking these, either statutes or wills, than Samson did of breaking his 
cords ; as if they would venture upon the curse of former times, and per- 
sons that very likely were led by the Spirit of God, and could say amen to 
their curses, as if they were nothing like Hiel, that would venture upon the 
terrible curse of Joshua; come what would, he would break through all.* ' 

4. But the Jericho especially that a world of people go about to build 
again, is joojoery. How many have ye to build up the walls of Jericho again 
in this kind ? But to make this a little clearer, because the occasion leads 
to this something, I will be the larger in it. 

Quest. How came they to build these walls of Jericho ? By what means 
came this religion that is so opposite to the religion of the Scripture ; this 
religion, that was gathered by the Council of Trent into one sea, as it were, 
that whosoever drinks of it dies, as it is in the Revelation, sx. 14. How 
comes this religion ? How crept it into the world ? 

Ans. I could be long to shew that it came by degrees. While the 
husbandmen slept, then the devil sowed his tares by heretics and such 
like. It grew by degrees. And then the world was scared and terrified 
with shows and fancies ; as with the succession of Peter, that is a mere 
fancy ; and then they were frighted with excommunications, the terrible 
sentence of the church. And then again it is a kingdom of darkness, 
popery is. By little and little they brought in ignorance, not only of the 
Scriptures, but of other things. They had their prayers in an unknown 
tongue, forbidding the Scriptures and the like. In the night they might 
do what they would, when they had put out the candle. When they had 
buried the knowledge of the word of God they might bring in any heresy ; 
many ways they came in. 

Now the preaching of the gospel is the means to pull down these walls 
of Jericho, it is the going about the walls of Jericho. By the preaching of 
Luther and others, the walls have fallen, though not utterly ; yet notwith- 
standing, in the last hundred years there hath been a great ruin of 

Quest. What means have they now to build the walls again ? How they 
bestir themselves ! There is a new sect of Jesuits, that are the spirit of 
the devil for knowledge and industry. It is a strange project they have 
now to build up the walls of Jericho again ; and three things they have in their 
project, and these are to set up the pope again, and a catholic king under 
him, as he is the catholic head of the church, and to set up the Council of 
Trent in the full vigour. These are the main projects they labour 
to set up, and so to build Jericho again this way ; and what course do 
they take ? 

Ans. The devil hath a thousand wiles. I cannot reckon all the instru- 
ments of Satan. Who can tell all his wiles ? They go about to build the 
walls of Jericho again among other ways. 

By shutting out of all light by their terrible inquisition, a most cruel thing. 
By the tyranny of this inquisition, they shut out all light of God's truth in 
all places where popery is established. 

Then again they have all Satan's arts to build up Jericho, by slanders 


and lies. They labour to estrange the hearts of people what they can 
against the truth of religion, and therefore they raise all the lies and 
slanders they can ; nay, and they will not suffer so much as a Protestant 
writer to be named, but the name of such a one, say they, be blotted out. 
Then they have their Index Purgatorius,-- to purge all that savour of truth 
that favour our cause. And then they have their dispensations. And, to 
cut off other things, for where should I end ? indeed their policy is almost 
endless in this kind ; they have the quintessence of their own wit and of 
Satan's to sharpen them in this kind. 

They deal as the magicians of Egypt. When Moses came to do wonders, 
they imitated him in all the rest, except in one. So they strengthen them- 
selves much in imitating the Protestants. We labour to build the walls of 
Jerusalem, they imitate us in building the walls of Jericho. We preach 
to shake off drowsiness, and they fall a preaching. We print, and they 
print. We publish books of devotion ; they go beyond us. We set out 
books of martyrology [i), to shew the cruelty of them, and they have lost 
much by that. Hereupon they do so too, and aggravate things, and add 
their own lies. So by imitating our proceedings, wherein we have gained 
upon them, they, like the Egyptian magicians, do the like, and God 
hardens their hearts, as he did Pharaoh's, by the magicians. 

Again, by labouring to make divisions between kings and their subjects, 
what they can in those places where their religion hath not obtained ground. 
That they may get a party they cherish division like the devil ; they divide 
and rule. 

It was Julian's policy to provide that no Christian should bear any 
office in the wars, to be captain, &c. So if the Jesuits and papists may 
have their will, no man that is opposite to them shall have any place. 
Those that shall have the place to manage offices, and such like, shall be 
those that incline to them. This they bring to pass if they can, and so 
for captains in the wars, &c. As Julian the apostate, he cared not for 
Judaism, but did what he did out of spite to the Christians ; so in the most 
of their plots thus they work one way or other. I say there is no end of 
their plots, only it is good to know them ; for so we may the better 
prevent them. 

Quest. How shall the building up of Jericho be stopped, seeing they go 
about it so ? And indeed they have built much of late years, and have raised 
up their walls very high, and labour what they can to stop the building of 
Jerusalem ! 

Ans. 1. The way to stop this Jericho, that it never go up again, is the 
judicious knowledge of popery ; that it is a religion contrary to the blessed 
truth of God. God hath left us his testament, his will, wherein he hath 
bequeathed us all the good that we can challenge from him. Now this 
religion is contrary to our Father's will, and they know it well enough, and 
therefore they build their courses upon men's devices, and not upon divine 
truth. They know if people come to know the Testament, that they should 
lose, and therefore they labour to suppress knowledge, and extinguish it ; 
we should labour to know^the controversial truths between us and them,^and 
to have the knowledge of the Scriptures ; for knowledge is a notable 
means to strengthen us ; there are none that know popery that will be 
deceived by it. 

2. And then, together with the knowledge of their tenets, to knoiv their 
courses, and practices, and policy. In 2 "Tim. iii. 9, ' They shall prevail 

* That is, ' Expurgatorius ' = Index of Prohibited Books. Cf. Mendhan.— G. 


no longer,' saith Saint Paul, ' for their madness shall be made manifest.' 
Why shall they not prevail any longer ? Their madness shall be manifest. 
So that the manifesting of the madness of men is the cause why they 
shall prevail no longer. It were good to know all their undermining tricks, 
and all the policy of the Jesuits and papists, that lay their trains afar oft', 
that they may be the less seen. As the spider gets into a corner, that 
she appear not, so themselves will not appear, but they draw women, and 
other licentious persons, and they have greater than them too. So they 
lay their trains afar off, that they may have their will. It is good to know 
their devilish practices, that so their diabolical madness may be manifest, 
that so they may prevail no longer ; for undoubtedly, if their courses were 
laid open, there is no man that loves his own safety, and the safety of the 
kingdom, but would hate them. 

3. Another way to stop the building of Jericho is to have young ones 
instructed. I would parents would have more care of catechising, and 
others in their places would have more care of grounding young ones in 
the grounds of religion. Popery labours to overthrow that. For the 
worshipping of images it is directly against the second commandment, and 
they are so guilty of it that they take it away in some of their books. The 
younger sort, that are the hope of the succeeding church, should be well 
grounded in religion. That that is right will discover that that is crooked. 
It would make them impregnable against all popish solicitations. 

The neglect of this is the cause why many gentlemen, and of the 
nobility [apostatize]. The neglect of their education by those that should 
overlook them hath made them fit for Jesuits and priests to work on, having 
ripe wits otherwise. And all because of the atheism of those that have 
neglected their breeding, and filled their heads with other vanities ; it hath 
been the ruin of many families in this kingdom. Therefore it is good to 
season younger years with the knowledge of the grounds of religion. 

4. And in all the dark corners of the land to set up lights that 7nay shine ; 
for these owls fly in the dark. They cannot endure the light of the gospel 
by any means. They see the breath of God's mouth is too hot for them; 
and they must be consumed at length by that, by the preaching of the 
gospel. Not with the sword, but with the sword of Christ's mouth, Anti- 
christ must especially be consumed. And they know this by experience. 
Therefore they labour underhand. They will not be seen in it, but oft- 
times others are instruments more than they are aware, to stop the preaching 
of the gospel by all the policy they can. 

5. Again, as I said before, popery is a kingdom of darkness, and nothing 
will undo it but light ; therefore we should labour to cherish all good 
learning. It is a notable means to assist against popery. Julian knew 
that well enough. Therefore he would not sufier parents to send their 
children to school, but to be brought up in ignorance. And so papists 
would have a neglect of learning that might help this way. 

6. And because they labour to reign in division, let us labour to unite 
ourselves^ and not break upon small matters, hut to join together with one 
shoulder, as one man, against that malignant generation, and mark those 
among us that are the causes of division ; as the apostle saith, ' Mark 
them, they serve not Christ, but their own belHes,' Philip, iii. 19 ; they 
serve their own turns that reign in division. Let us labour as much as 
may be if we will join strongly against the enemies of God and his church, 
to unite our forces together, and not to entertain slight matters of breach 
one from another. 


7. And with these let us join our prayers to God, and our thanksgiving. 
We are not thankful enough that God hath brought us out of the kingdom 
of darkness ; not only out of the darkness of sin and Satan, but from the 
darkness of popery. We have not been thankful to God for that deliver- 
ance in Queen Elizabeth's time, out of the Egyptian darkness, and the 
deliverance in our late king's time, and deliverances in later times, we 
are not thankful enough. And we begin to shew it in not making much of 
religion, and growing in further and further obedience of religion. Is this 
our thankfulness to God ? What, doth religion hurt us ? Are we not 
beholden to God for our religion, and to religion for our peace and deliver- 
ance ? Hath not God witnessed the truth of our religion from heaven by 
deliverances ? Hath not God been with us strangely by the confusion of 
the plots of others. And how do we requite it ? By growing to a lukewarm 
temper. A lukewarm temper is odious in the sight of God. * I would 
thou wert hot or cold,' saith Christ, Kev. iii. 15. The best religion in the 
world is odious if it be cold. God will not endure us to join the ark and 
Dagon, Christ and Belial. Certainly, if we do, God will spue us all out. 
It will be the confusion of the church and state, and yet this is the thank- 
fulness that we give to God for the gospel of peace, that we have been so 
much beholden to him for. 

Therefore it is good to take occasions, as we have one" ministered this 
day, to call to mind the former dealing of God to us, in the gunpowder 
treason and other deliverances, which we have had several occasions upon 
this day to speak of. And, to come nearer ourselves, let us stir up our 
hearts to thankfulness, which is the main end of this day, and among the 
rest for our gracious prince, that God hath delivered him as the three 
children in the fiery furnace (j). They were kept and preserved untouched of 
the fire ; so God hath preserved him in the fiery furnace. The not being 
thankful for these things will be a means for God to lay us open to his and 
our enemies. Therefore let us make use of this day especially to stir us 
up to thankfulness. To go on. 

8. For the building of the walls of Jericho what should I speak of 
popery and the like ? We should labour to overthrow that Jericho. All of 
us have vowed in baptism to fight against the world, and the devil, and 
the main enemy of all that is within us, that is, our flesh. We could not 
be hurt by them. We betray ourselves, as Samson betrayed himself to 
Delilah. Those that are baptized, and especially that have renewed their 
vows by solemn fasting, and renewed their covenant in taking the com- 
munion, as there are none of us all but have vowed against our corruptions 
and sins in baptism, and have renewed their solemn vows in the com- 
munion and in public fasting. Well, when we go about to strengthen our 
corruptions, and the corruptions of the times in the places where we live, 
what do we go about ? To build the walls of Jericho again. What do 
we go about, but to strengthen that that God hath cursed ? There is 
nothing under heaven so cursed as this corruption of ours, that is the cause 
of all the curses of the creatures, of all the curses that ever were, or shall 
be, even to the last curse : ' Go, ye cursed, to eternal destruction,' Mat. 
XXV. 41. This pride, and sensuality, and secret atheism and infidelity that 
we cherish, and love more than our own souls, this is that that many go 
about to build, and oppose all the ways that are used to pull down Jericho, 
and hate nothing so heartily as the motions of God's Spirit, and the 
means that God's Spirit hath sanctified to pull down these walls of Jericho. 

Must not this be a cursed endeavour, when we go about to build that 


that we ourselves have vowed to pull down ? when we go about to raise 
that that we have formerly destroyed by our own vows ? As Saint Paul 
saith, Gal. ii. 18, ' If I again build the things I have destroyed, I make 
myself a transgressor,' Indeed, when we go about to build the things that 
we have vowed their destruction, we make ourselves transgressors. 

Let us take notice of the wondrous poison and rebellion of the corrup- 
tion of our hearts in this kind. Hath not the Lord threatened curse upon 
curse against many particular sins ? ' Cursed is the man that calls evil 
good, and good evil,' Isa. v. 20. Have we not many that do so ? In 
Deuteronomy there is curse upon curse to those that mislead others, xxvii. 
16, et alibi. And in the New Testament there is curse upon curse ; St Paul 
threateneth that such and such shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven, 
l^Cor. vi. 9, 10. Yet, notwithstanding the curse, we go about to build 
Jericho again, to set up that that God hath pronounced a curse upon. 

We cry out against popery, and well we may, when the Scripture directs 
curses against their particular opinions, as where it saith, * If an angel from 
heaven shall teach other doctrine, let him be accursed,' Gal. i. 8. The 
Council of Trent hath cursed those that say traditions are not of equal 
authority with the Scriptures, and so they set curse against curse. We 
wonder at them that they are not afraid of the curse of God, nay, to coun- 
ter-curse God as it were ; when he curseth disobedience, to curse the 
practice of obedience to him. And then there is a icurse to those that 
shall add or take away from the Scripture. St John seals the whole 
Scripture with a curse : ' Cursed is he that adds, or takes away,' &c.. Rev. 
xxii. 18. Now they add to the Scripture that that is no scripture ; and 
they take away what they list, as the second commandment and the cup 
in the sacrament. I say we wonder at them, that they will run upon the 
curses, that they will be stricken through with so many curses, more than 
Absalom with javelins, or Achan with stones : * Cursed is he that worship- 
peth graven images,' Deut. xxvii. 15 ; besides particular things that are 
cursed in Scripture. We wonder at them that they are so desperately 
blind to run on. But are not we as ill ? Are there not many curses in 
the Scripture, and denunciations of being excluded from the kingdom of 
God, against the courses that are taken by many men ? And yet we ven- 
ture on it. Will a negative religion bring any man to heaven, to say he is 
no papist, nor no schismatic ? No. Certainly therefore profane persons 
that maintain corruptions, and abuses, and abominations, against the light 
of conscience, and nature, and Scriptures, they raise up Jericho again and 
they are under a curse. 

Let me ask any one why Christ came ?* The apostle saith, and they 
will be ready to say, ' To dissolve the cursed works of the devil,' 1 John 
iii. 8. It should seem by many, notwithstanding, especially at these times, 
that he came to establish the works of the devil ; for what good we do in 
the ministry, in three quarters of a year, it is almost undone in one quarter. 
At the time when we pretend great honour to Christ, we live as if he came 
to build up the cursed wall of hell ; to break loose all. Whereas he came 
to destroy the works of the devil : ' He came to redeem us out of the hands 
of our enemies, that we might serve him without fear, in holiness and 
righteousness, all the days of our life,' Luke i. 75. He came to redeem us 
from our vain conversation. Nay, many live as if he came to give liberty 
to all conversation. Is not this to raise Jericho ? to raise a fort for 
Satan to enter into our souls and keep possession in us ? to beat out God 
* In margin here, ' Application concerning the feast of the nativity,' — G. 


and his Spirit ? to fight against our known salvation, when we rear up 
coui'ses contrary to Christ's coming in the flesh, and to the end of Christ's 
dying for us, which was to free us from our vain conversation, and to 
redeem us from the world, that we should not be led as slaves to the cus- 
toms of the world ? 

Therefore let us consider what we do, what our course of life is. If it 
be a proceeding, and edification, and building up ourselves more and more 
to heaven, a growing in knowledge and in holy obedience to the divine 
truths we know ; if it be a pulling down of sin more and more, a going 
further and further out of the kingdom of darkness, and a setting ourselves 
at a gracious liberty to serve God ; oh it is a happy thing if it be so ! 
If our life be a taking part with Christ, and his Spirit, and his ministry, to 
grow in grace and piety, oh it is an excellent thing when we grow better 
the longer we live in the world, and this cursed Jericho, the corruption of 
nature, which, if we cherish, will be the cause of an eternal curse after, if 
it go down, and we ruin it more and more, and we sufier the word to beat 
down the forts of Satan, those strong imaginations, &c. But if our life be 
nothing else but a living answerable to our lusts ; that as we are dead and 
cursed by nature, so we make ourselves twice dead, a hundred times dead 
by sin, and bring curse upon curse by our sinful conversation, we are then 
under God's broad seal cursed. We are all born accursed, till we get out 
of the state of nature ; to free us from which Christ became a curse. If 
we get not out of this, but go on and feed our vanity and corruption, what 
will be the end of it but an eternal curse afterwards ? Therefore let us 
consider what we do, when we maintain and cherish corruptions and abuses 
in ourselves and others. We build that that God hath cursed ; we build 
that that we have vowed against ourselves. 

And how will God take this at the hour of death ? Thou that art a care- 
less, drowsy hearer of the word of God, and a liver contrary to the word of 
God, how will God take this at thee, at the hour of death, when thy con- 
science will tell thee that thy life hath been a practice of sin, a strengthening 
of corruption ? The ' old Adam ' that thou hast cherished, it will stare 
and look on thee with so hideous a look that it will drive you to despair ; 
for conscience will tell thee that thy life hath been a strengthening of 
pride, of vanity, of covetousness, and of other sins. Thy whole Hfe hath 
been such ; and now when thou shouldst look for comfort, then thy corrup- 
tions, which thou shouldst have subdued, they are grown to that pitch that 
they will bring thee to despair, without the extraordinary mercy of God to 
awaken thy heart by repentance. Why therefore should we strengthen 
that that is a curse and will make us cursed too ? and will make the time 
to come terrible to us, the hour of death and the day of judgment ? How 
shall men think to hold up their faces and heads at the day of judgment, 
whose lives have been nothing else but a yielding to their own corruption 
of nature, and the corruptions and vanities of the times and places they 
have lived in ? that have never had the courage to plead for God ; that 
have been fierce against God : ' Who ever was fierce against God, and pros- 
pered?,' Job ix. 4. When men make their whole life fierce against God, 
against the admonitions of his word and Spirit, and their whole life is 
nothing but a practice of sin, how can they think of death and judgment 
without terror ! 

Now, it were wisdom for us to carry ourselves so in our lives and con- 
versations, that the time to come may not be terrible, but comfortable to 
think of; that we may lift up our heads with joy when we think of death 


and judgment. But when we do nothing but build Jericho, when we raise 
up sin, that we should ruin more and more, what will the end of this be, 
but despair here and destruction in the world to come ? 

You may shake off the menaces and threatenings of the ministers, as 
Hiel shook off Joshua's. He was an austere, singular man, and it is a 
long time since Jericho was cast down, and God hath forgotten. Hath he 
so ? He found that God had not forgotten ; so there are many that think 
that words are but wind of men, opposite to such and such things. But, 
though our words may be shooken , off now, and the word of God now in 
the preaching may be shook off, yet it will not when it comes to execution. 
"When we propound the curse of God against sinful courses, you may shake 
off that curse ; but when Christ from heaven shall come to judge the quick 
and the dead, and say, * Go, ye cursed,' that were born cursed, that have 
lived cursed, that have maintained a cursed opposition to blessed courses, 
that have not built up your own salvation, but your corruptions, you that 
loved cursing, ' Go, ye cursed, to hell-fire, with the devil and his angels for 
ever,' Mat. xxv. 41. Will you shake off that ? No, no ! Howsoever our 
ministerial entreaties may be shaken off, yet when God shall come to judge 
the quick and the dead, that eternal threatening shall not be shaken off. 
Therefore, I beseech you, consider not so much what we say now, but what 
God will make good then. ' What we bind on earth,' out of the warrant of 
God's book, ' shall be bound in heaven,' Mat. xvi. 19, and God will say 
Amen to that we say agreeable to his word. 

Think not light of that we speak, for God will make good every word. 
He is Jehovah, he will give being to every word. He is not only mercy 
but justice. We make an idol of him else. And we must fear him in his 
justice. * He loves to dwell with such as are of a contrite spirit, that 
tremble at his word,' Isa. Ivii. 15. 

It is said of David, that when Uzzah was stricken, he trembled,' 2 Sam. 
vi, 6. fHiel, and such kind of persons, regard not the threatenings of God, 
but go on and treasure up wrath. It is a sign of a wicked man to bear 
the menaces and threatenings, and not to tremble. To end all with two 
places of scripture : Saith Moses, ' He that hears these things, and blesseth 
himself, my wrath shall smoke against him,' Deut. xxis. 20. God's wrath 
shall smoke and burn to hell against such a one as blesseth himself, that 
knows he is cursed under the seal of God, that doth ill, and yet he blesseth 
himself in doing ill. Therefore, take heed of that, ad«l not that to the rest. 
God's wrath will smoke against such a one. And you know what St Paul 
saith : Kom, ii. 5, ' If thou go on and treasure up Wrath,' thou buildest 
Jericho, that thou hast vowed the destruction of. Every time thou takest 
the communion, thou treasurest up wrath against the day of wrath. For 
there will be a day of the manifestation of the just wrath of God, and then 
these things will be laid to thy charge. *5 

Let us every one labour to get out of the state of nature, to break off our 
wicked lives, and to get into Christ the blessed seed, and then we shall be 
blessed, we shall be made free, free from the curse of nature and of sin. 
Let us renew our covenants against all sin, and make conscience to be led 
by the Spirit of Christ, that we may gather sound evidence every day, that 
we are in Christ, and so out of the curse. 



(a) p. 20. — ' Luther, a man of great parts and grace, saith of himself, " That if," ' 
&c. The sentiment is found in his ' Table Talk,' on which cf. note uu, Vol. III. 
p. 583. 

{b) P. 20. — ' The Jesuits themselves, amongst the rest one De Lapide, he saith.' 
' One De Lapide ' is somewhat contemptuous for a name so famous as Corneille de la 
Pierre, commonly called Cornelius a Lapide. His great ' Commentarii in Sacram 
Scripturam ' (10 vols, folio) is an extraordinary chaos of wisdom and folly. The 
thing stated ante is a commonplace of popery. 

(c) P. 20. — ' As one of the ancients saith well, " the wrath of a man," ' &c. Pro- 
bably Augustine, but I have failed to trace it. 

(d) P. 20. — ' The primitive church pronounced a curse against Julian.' It needeth 
not to annotate so familiar a fact in the early conflicts of Christianity ; but perhaps 
it is as well to notice that ' curse ' is not used technically. There was angry de- 
nunciation, yet scarcely excommunication proper. 

(e) P. 22. — ' Children, according to the Hebrew word, are the building, the pillars 
of the house.' The allusion here is not, as at first sight would seem, to ' first-born' 
in the text, but to the general word for children, viz., Q''3^, and probably also to 

• T 

the Hebrew word for ' house,' JT^^ [qvasi /li2l)> ^^^^ which words are derived from 
the verb nJ2l> ' to build.' So we read the passage, ' Cursed be the man that riseth 

T T 

up and buildeth (nj3,) Jericho;' as if he said, 'that riseth up and maketh Jericho 

T T 

to have children and house. That man shall suffer for it, inasmuch as his children 
shall die, and his house be left desolate.' 

(f) P. 23. — 'As Zedekiah and Mauritius the emperor.' With respect to Zede- 
kiah, cf. 2 Kings xxv. 7. ' Mauritius ' is of course Mauricius Flavius Tiberius, one 
of the greatest of the emperors of Constantinople. Sibbes alludes to the well known 
fact, that his five sons were murdered in the church of St Antonomus, Chalcedon, 
while their father was compelled to look on. 

(^r) P. 24. — ' As Augustine complains, they so pestered,' &c. Eepeatedly in his 
De Civitate Dei, and in his Controversies. 

[h) P. 24. — ' Gerson . . . saith.' To distinguish this from other Gersons, it may 
be stated that Sibbes no doubt refers to John Gerson of Gerson [Charlier], whose 
writings are numerous. Died 1429. 

(z) P. 26. — ' We set out books of martyrology.' The great martyr-book is that of 
John Fox ; but for others prior and subsequent to Sibbes, cf. Watt's Bib. Brit., sub 
voce. G. 

(j) P. 28. — The reference is to the safe return of Prince Charles, afterwards 
Charles L, from the visit which he made in company with Buckingham into Spain, 
whence he returned on the 5th October 1623. His safe return is frequently referred 
to as a matter of thankfulness by the preachers of the period. There is already 
published in tliis Series a sermon preached on that occasion by Samuel Ward 
(Works, p. 134). 





' The Vanity of the Creature' forms No. 18 of the Sermons in the Saint's 
Cordials of 1629. It is not contained in the editions of 1637, 1658. The separate 
title-page will be found below.* G. 




In One Seemon. 


C The decaying condition of all naturall parts, and worldly 
I comforts. 

I Together with the meanes hoiv to attaine an estate super- 
naiurall, to live with God in Christ. 
Shewing who are the truly wise men in the world. 
With sundry helps and directions to stirre up in Christi- 
ans a longing desire after their best home, <^c. 

[The ornament here, described in Vol. IV. page 60. So in all the Sermons from 
the Saint's Cordials in this volume. — G.] 

Vpeightnes Hath Boldnes.' 

Printed in the yeare 1629. 


And Barzillai said to the hing, How long have I to live, that I should go up 
ivith the king to Jerusalem? I am this day fourscore years old, dc. — 
• 2 Samuel XIX. 34-38. 

I HAVE read, beloved, a large text. In the handling of it, we will do as the 
traveller doth that is belated ; we will cast how we may post the next way 
to an end. The oration, you see, is very plain. We shall not need to 
spend much time in explicating the terms. 

The words are part of a conference, you see ; a passage between king 
David and Barzillai of Eogelim, in the county of Gilead. This Barzillai 
had been wondrous kind to David in the time of his distress. David being 
now restored from danger, remembers the kindness of his old friend, and, 
in way of requital, tenders him this offer, that in case he would go with 
him to the court of Jerusalem, he should be very welcome thither, and he 
should have such entertainment as the court would afford. This invite- 
ment* of the king foregoes f our text. 

The old man Barzillai is now upon his answer in the words read, who 

1. First, very modestly and mannerly put off the king's motion to him. 

2. And then next he tenders and jjrefers a suit of his oivn. For the king's 
motion, that he should turn courtier, Barzillai puts off very finely, as you 
may see in the text. He gives sundry reasons for his so doing. 

1. The first is, because that he ivas no fit man for the court. 

First, He was smitten in age, and therefore, in case he should go up, he 
could but only salute it ; for, saith he, ' how many are the days of my years ?' 
My years are brought to days ; my days may quickly be numbered. I 
should die by that time I were warm there, and therefore what should I do 
at the court? Secondly, put the case he did draw breath there a while, 
that was all ; for, saith he, ' Am I able now to discern between good and 
evil?' There is nothing that oflers itself to my eye, to my ear, to my 
taste, to any of my senses, that will give me any great content, and there- 
fore there is no great reason why I should be drawn thither. This is his 
first reason, from the unfitness of the thing. 

* That is, ' invitation.' — G. 

t That is, ' goes before,' = precedes, used as also ' fore-think,' and the like, by 
contemporaries. — G. 


Second, Afterward he proceeds to other reasons in the text, that is first 
thus much : if he should live there, it must he to do the king some service, 
at the least to yield him some contentment. But so it was that he was under 
age's command, and was able for neither. He was neither fit for work nor 
fit for play. He found no great contentment in himself, and he could 
yield little to others, and therefore why should he be a burden to the 
king's court? 

Third, The third reason is this, that he had done what he had done for 
the kinr/, but in duty. It was his duty to do what he did, and it was but a 
little. All that he could do for the king was only to bring him a mile or 
two on his way ; and why should the king trouble his thoughts about a 
recompence for this, saith he ? Thus he puts oif the king's motion ; he 
craves leave that he may forbear the court, and be excused thence. 

Fourth, This done, he comes in the next place, because he would give 
no offence, to tender a suit of his own, and that is double. 

1. In regard of himself. 

2. And then in regard of his son Chimham. 

For himself he craves leave to go back again to his own dwelling ; and 
here he doth finely set his petition by the king's motion. 

1. He desires the king's leave, that he would give him leave to go home 
and die. 

2. And next, that the king would be pleased so far to gratify him, that 
he may die in his own dwelling, where his habitation was. 

Fain he would die as the hare doth in her own form, and as other 
creatures willingly do in their own nests. Then, in the next place, he adds 
another reason why he would be dismissed; because he would die where 
his father and his mother were buried. There he was bred, there he was 
born, there he drew his first breath, and there he would gladly resign him- 
self again, and his breath, and be laid and gathered in mercy to his fathers. 
This is his suit for himself. 

In the behalf of his son, he tenders him to the king's grace, as if he 
should say. Your motion is very gracious, far beyond my desert, and such 
as I should be very happy in the enjoying of, in case age did not hinder me. 
For proof whereof, I leave my son as a pledge and pawn.* This stafi" of 
my age, this stay of my comfort, I commend him to your grace ; deal with 
him as shall seem best in your eyes. And thus Barzillai he hath com- 
mended his suit to the king. 

Now this being thus delivered, it is further amplified and set forth from 
the effect that this wrought in the king. 

1. First, King David he accepts of his excuse. He gives him to under- 
stand, if he will go, he shall be kindly welcome; if he stay behind, there 
is no ofience shall be taken, but further, the king will be ready in any other 
kind to gratify him as occasion shall serve. 

2. And next for his son, the king accepts of him, and promiseth to do 
for him that which should seem good in the eyes of his father. 

These be the parts of this conference, and the eff'ects of it ; so that in 
sum you see here is a dialogue, 

A conference between David and Barzillai. 

We are now upon Barzillai's answer, which is set forth, 

1. From the parts. 

2. From the efiects of it, as before we inferred. 

Now from all these generals, sundry particular instructions might be 
* That is, ' security.' — G. 


raised. But I perceive the time hath prevented me; therefore we will. 
briefly handle a point or two, and so for this time cease. 

1. First of all, in the first place, we see that Barzlllai hath no mind to 
the court; and he draws his argument and his reason from his state and 
from his age. * How many,' saith the original, ' are the days of my years?' 
{a.) The motion* was very gracious on the king's part, and such as man's 
nature is ready enough to entertain. Naturally, we desire honour and 
preferment; at least an old man might take some contentment in the 
dainties and delicates of a court. Further than this, let a man be never so 
religious, in David's court a man might find much contentment, and might 
take much comfort and solace in the presence and company of such a 
prince. Notwithstanding all this, saith old Barzillai, my days are almost 
spent, my glass is almost run, and therefore what should I talk of a court ? 
I will go home and die. 

Doct. 1. In him we learn thus much, how that no company, no comforts, 
no motions in the earth, should jnit off thoughts of death when death begins to 
creep upon us. I say wheresoever we live, what offers soever are made us, 
whatsoever the motion be, for ease, for profit, for promotion, for any out- 
ward contentments, we must not lay down, we must not lay aside the 
thoughts of our mortality. No dream must put us out of these thoughts 
while we travel in this main roadway of all flesh. We must never be so 
busy in discourse, in contrivements,t as to forget our way, to forget which 
way we are going, but still our thoughts must be homewards ; that as we 
deal with other journeys here upon earth; for these momentary homes that 
we have here, wheresoever we be, in company that we like wondrous well, 
where our entertainment is full of kindness, where our welcome is of the 
best, and all content is given; yet notwithstanding, thoughts eftsoonsj 
will offer themselves of home, night will come, and it will grow late, I must 
home for all this, and leave all this company. So, my brethren, should it 
be concerning our long homes, which is that surest dwelling ; wheresoever 
we be, howsoever for the present we be tempted or taken up, still, still our 
eye must be home ; we must remember our latter end, remember whither 
we are going. This Barzillai teacheth us in his practice. A motion is 
made for the court. Tush ! court me no courts, saith Barzillai ; I am an 
aged man ; I have one foot in the grave ; let me go home and die. Here 
is an off'er made him of comfort and contentment. No; I will go home 
and lie by my fathers. Death possesseth his thoughts ; he minds nothing 
else now but dying. This Barzillai did, and thus the apostle would have 
us do in 1 Cor. vii. 29, 30. Our time, saith he, it is abbreviated. Now 
our time is nothing in comparison of that it was in the time of the 
patriarchs. A great part of our time is already run out, and there is but 
a Httle of it left behind. Our time being thus short, saith the apostle, 
* Let him that is married, be as if he were not married; let him that weeps, 
be as if he wept not; let him that rejoiceth, be as if he did not rejoice; he 
that is in the world, as if he were not in the world.' Let us so carry our- 
selves, that we may be very indifferent towards all matters in this life. 
Let us so order the matter, that no occasion of grief, of sorrow, of comfort, 
of joy, of company, of one thing or another, public or private, may divert 
our thoughts, and turn them aside from thinking upon death. This is that 
which David and others press in sundry psalms. § He calls upon rich and 
poor, upon high and low, one and another, in the 82d Psalm. He calls 

* That is, ' proposal.' — G. J That is, ' immediately.' — Q. 

t That is, ' contrivances.' — G. | In margin, ' Psalms xlix. and Ixxxii.' — G. 


upon judges and magistrates, though they be in place gods, yet in nature 
men, and must die as men. This is that which Solomon presseth too. 
But what needs particulars ? We will not trouble you with particular 
instances of Scripture, much less with instances of other stories. Every 
man almost knows what some heathen princes have done this way. They 
had some to call upon them in their beds, some at their boards, to remem- 
ber them that they were mortal, that they must die, to mind them of this 
in the midst of their greatest security, and in the midst of all their 
jollity (b). And indeed there is great reason why it should be thus, why 
it is good still to hold on the thoughts of our mortality and of our death, 
whatsoever occasion be offered. 

1. It is needful for the preventing of evil. 

2. And it is useful for the obtaining of good. 

Reason 1. These evils ivillbe hereby prevented. (1.) The constant thoughts 
of death and mortality icill tie us to our good behaviour, that we shall not 
offer any injustice, any hard measure, to any man. Whereas let death be 
once out of the sight of the thoughts of a man, he grows wild, he grows 
unruly, he grows masterless. You see in the parable of the servant,* 
when he thought his master was gone afar off, that he would not come a 
great while, that his reckoning, his account would not be soon, it would 
not be sudden, he lays about him like a Nimrod, he smites and beats his 
fellow- servants, he makes no conscience of his dealing to his poor brethren. 
Whereas, on the other side, when Job presented to himself the thoughts of 
death and mortality, how that there was a Lord and a Judge that would 
call him to an account for all, he dares not lift up his hand, he dares not 
lift up his tongue, against any underling or inferior, f 

(2.) Again, as this will prevent injustice towards men, so it will prevent 
impenilency toivards God. The heart of man secures itself like the 
harlot, Prov. vii. 10, et seq. When she conceives her husband is gone 
afar off, and hath taken a great journey, she is secure. So the heart, 
the impenitent heart of man, when a man puts far from him the 
thoughts of death, and will not conceive that the Judge stands at the 
door, then he doth obstinate J himself in sinful courses, and doth what 
he can to stiffen himself against all the admonitions and rebukes of God's 

(3.) Further, this is another evil that is prevented ; the thoughts of 
mortality will prevent dotage, as it were, about these ivorldly things. The 
world will grow upon us and bewitch us, if we suffer the thoughts of death to 
fall once. If we do not see death stand at the end of all our earthly pro- 
fits, of all our worldly pleasures and advantages, we shall be even almost 
mad after them, and we shall be too too glad of them when we have them, 
and too too much surfeit upon them ; whereas, on the other side, the 
thoughts of this, that we must shortly leave them, and depart hence, this 
will cool our appetite to earthly things, it will make us have them as if 
we had them not, as you heard from the apostle. 

(4.) Yea, these thoughts of our mortality in all estates and conditions, 
it is that which ■willjjrevent the danger of death. It will take away the sting 
of it, it will take away the terror of it. Death is a most temble thing in 
its own nature you know, and the heathen could speak [so of] it. Death is 
most terrible, especially to him that doth not die in his thoughts daily. 
Whenas a man in his meditations doth daily present death to himself, and 

* Mat. XXV. 15, et seq. — G. t Job xxxi. 13. — G. 

X That is, 'hardens,' = grows stubborn. — G. 


looks upon it, then death is like the prevented* basilisk, death hath lost; 
the sting. It can do us no hurt ; it proves like the brazen serpent looked 
upon. The beholding of that death puts an end to all other miseries, to 
all other maladies, to all other deaths whatsoever, so that there is much 
good gotten, at the least there is much evil prevented, in case we do 
constantly entertain in us thoughts of mortality and of death, as Barzillai 

Eeason 2. Secondly, As this thought of mortality is profitable for us in 
that respect, in preventing evil, so in a second regard proposed, that it 
doth even help ^^s to much goodness. Thoughts of mortality, what will 
they do ? 

(1.) First, They will make a man painful t in his place, to dwell upon 
his own vocation, upon his own business ; as Paul saith, • Knowing the 
terror of the Lord, we exhort and admonish,' 2 Cor. v. 11. We being 
apostles, we do the duty of apostles. Upon this ground Barzillai, remem- 
bering his mortality, that he must shortly go hence, he betakes himself 
home, that death might find him in his own place. 

(2.) Again, the thoughts of mortality, as they will make a man painful f 
in his place, so they will make him profitable consequently to men ; as the 
apostle Peter speaks, 2 Peter i. 13, he stirs up himself to put the people 
of God in remembrance of those things they had learned, because he con- 
sidered that ' shortly he was to lay down his tabernacle,' to make an end 
of his life. 

(3.) And further, the thoughts of death and mortality, they will make a 
man patient in the midst of all the hard measure that is offered to him ; in 
the midst of all preserves us, as the apostles speak, both James and Paul, 
that we shall be patient : * Let your patience be known unto all men, 
because the Lord is at hand, because the time is short, because the Judge 
stands at the door,' &c., Philip, iv. 5, James v. 10. This is that which 
will make one quiet in all provocations ; this is that will comfort him in 
all discouragements : I shall shortly be sent for, I shall be called from 
hence ; then I shall be righted where I am wronged, I shall be cleared where 
I am accused, I shall have rest where I have trouble, all shall be well, and 
therefore why should I not be quiet ? 

(4.) Yea, this thought of mortality is that that will make one prepare for 
death. A man that resolves he must die, he goes about to set his house 
in order, to set his heart in order, to set all in order, and prepare now for 
that guest that is so near approaching. 

So that whether we look to the evils that are prevented, or to the good 
things that are obtained and acquired, it will be a profitable course for every 
man to be of Barzillai's mind, to set aside all motions, and all solicita- 
tions, all other respects, and to take to himself thoughts of death and 
mortality. "We will stand no longer in proving and clearing this plain 
point unto you, we will be as brief as we may in applying it, and that with 
all plainness. 

Use 1. First, then, is this our duty? Here we must shame and blame 
ourselves that we forget our home, and that we remember no better our latter end. 
This is a matter of humbling to us, that we do not remember that which 
should be always in our thoughts. The end of a man's days should be at 
the end of all his thoughts. Still, as the goal is in the eye of the runner, as 

* Alluding to tlie idea that if a man see a basilisk before it sees him, it cannot 
injure him, but dies. — Ed. 
t That is, ' painstaking.'— G. 


the white* is in the eye of the archer, so still a man's latter end should be 
in the eye of him whilst he is running his race and his course here in this 

A man should be still bound for home, as it were, as you see all creatures 
be. Let a stone be removed from home, from the centre, let it be put out 
of its place, it will never be quiet till it be home again. Let a bird be far 
from the nest, and it grows towards night, she will home even upon the 
wings of the wind. Let every poor beast, and every creature, though the 
entertainment be but slender at home, yet if you let it slip loose it will home 
as fast as it can. Everything tends to its place ; there is its safety, there 
is its rest, there it is preserved, there it is quiet. Now, sith it is so with 
every creature, why should it not be so with us ? Why should not we be 
for our home ? This, my brethren, is not our home, here is not our rest. 
That is our home where our chief friends be, where our Father God is, 
where our husband Christ is, where our chief kindred and acquaintance 
be, all the prophets, and apostles, and martyrs of God departed are, that 
is our home, and thither should we go. 

Again, that is our home where our chief work, where our chief business 
lies. And where is chiefly a Christian's business but in heaven ? His 
conversation must be there, his affection is there. He himself while he is 
on earth must be out of the earth, and raise himself from earth to heaven 
every day. 

More than this, that is our home where our rest and peace is. Here we 
have no abiding city; there is our home, as our Saviour speaks, our 
mansion.f We have no abiding place till we come to heaven. While we 
are here, we are tossed to and fro from place to place ; but when we are 
there, there we rest. We rest from our labours, we rest from sin, we rest 
from corruption, from all fears, from all tears, from all griefs, from all 
temptations ; that is our home. Why do we not go home, then, my 
brethren ? Why are we like a silly child, that when his father sends him 
forth, and bids him hie him home again, every flower that he meets with 
in the field, every sign he sees in the street, every companion that meets 
him in the way, stops him, and hinders him from repairing to his father ? 
So it is with us for the most part ; every trifle, every profit, every bauble, 
every matter of pleasure, every delight, is enough to divert and turn aside 
our thoughts from death, from home, from heaven, from our God, and we 
are taken up, and lose ourselves I know not where. This shews that 
either we conceive not heaven as our home, and earth as a pilgrimage and 
tabernacle, or else it shews we are too, too childish, like children in this 

Use 2. But, secondly, here is another word of instruction for us, and 
that is thus much, that every one of us now should labour after the examj^ile of 
this good man, even to remember his latter end, to remember whither he is 
going, to remember his home. 

Quest. What need this ? will some say ; how is it possible for a man to 
forget this point ? 

Ans. 1. Yes, my beloved, it is very possible. It is a very easy matter 
to speak of death, but it is an hard matter to think of it, and to think of 
it seriously, for a man to take it home to his own thoughts. It is a 
very difficult thing for a man to apprehend privations, | those things that 
are so far from eternity and being. It is the hardest thing in the world 

* That is, 'mark' in the centre of the 'butt.' — G. X That is, ' negatives.'— G. 
t John xiv. 2 — G. 



to do this in the greatest privation of all, in matter of death. A man is 
utterly unwilling, utterly unable. This argues he hath no mind to see 
death, nor no will to salute it. 

Ans. 2. Besides, many men, upon many occasions, will labour to turn 
aside a man's thoughts this way. Hence it is, that though we say we are 
mortal, yet we scarce beheve ourselves to be mortal ; but we carry immor- 
tal hopes and immortal conceits in mortal breasts. Hence it comes to pass, 
that though we look into the graves of others, yet we little think that our- 
selves shall shortly be closed in the grave. Though we see others fall at 
our right hand and at our left, yet we hardly believe that those eyes of ours 
must shortly be closed up and stopped, and all our members must be for- 
saken, and left lifeless as a carcase. These things are far from our 
thoughts, and therefore it is needful for us to press this oft and oft upon 
our thoughts, namely, that we are mortal, and that we must away. 

Obj. Why, will some man say, how can a man choose but think so, 
when he hath so many instances of mortaHty every day before his eyes ? 
He sees rich and poor, young and old, one and another die, and therefore 
he cannot conceive but that he must die too. 

Ans. But yet all this will not do, except a man be assisted by the divine 
Spirit. This Moses intimates, Ps. xc. 12. They fell in the wilderness by 
hundreds, nay, by thousands, and yet saith Moses, * Lord teach us to 
number our days, &c., and give us wisdom to apply our hearts unto 
wisdom ;' and to that sense and effect Moses prays. Moses, though he 
had instances enow of mortality, notwithstanding that he was an excellent 
man himself, and had to do with the best people that were then in the 
world, yet he sees reason to pray to God that God would teach them their 
mortaHty, and that God would make them wise, and that they might know 
how to number their days, and to remember their own estate. If Moses 
saw reason to put up this petition to God, certainly there is great need for 
us to do it. We had need pray Moses' prayer, and we had need to prac- 
tise Moses' practice too. 

(1.) First, let us labour to take the sum of our life, wha-t it is in thegross, 
as he saith in that psalm, ' Our days are threescore years and ten, it may 
be one may come to fourscore ;' he may arrive to such a number, or there- 
abouts ; this is the life of man, Ps. xc. 10. And then, 

(2.) Secondly, in the next place, let us consider how much of this time 
is run out already, how that the fourth part, or the third part, or the half 
of our days is already expired and {run out. Let us do in this case as an 
apprentice doth reckon how many years he was bound for, how many he 
hath served already, and what is behind. Let us do as a traveller would 
do : So many miles I must go this day, so many are measured already, 
the remainder must be passed before night. So let us do in this appren- 
ticeship, in this journey of death. Account what it is, how much of it is 
spent, how the time slides away in an insensible manner, [how] it steals 

(3.) Nay, let us in the third place consider hoiv others fall on every hand 
before us. Present this to thy own thoughts, and say. There dwelt such a 
gentleman the other day, now he is dead ; there dwelt such a woman, such 
a neighbour of late, she is now departed ; not long since there dwelt so 
many in that family, and there are few now left. Thus let us reckon, con- 
sider how death seizeth upon other men, and then reflect upon thyself. 
Who knows whose turn may be next? 

(4.) Yea, let us in the last place consider, how death steals on us too by 


degrees, Jioiv it takes possession of 2is. It is with ns as it is with an house. 
There falls down a window, and then comes down a piece of a wall, and 
then a door, &c. ; so it is with a man, death seizeth upon his feet, and then 
upon his hands. Let us take notice how death steals on us, and say, 
Death is already in mine eye, I begin to be dim- sighted : death is already 
in mine ear, I begin to be thick of hearing ; death is in my limbs and 
joints, they begin to be lazy, and stiff, and cold, I begin to feel the symp- 
toms of death upon me already. Let us look oft upon ourselves to this 
purpose, take notice how nature begins to wither and decay. Let the 
whiteness of our hairs, the weakness of our joints, the wrinkles in our faces, 
be so many witnesses against us, as he speaks in that place in Job xvi. 8. 
Thus we must do, my brethren, to come to settle this in our thoughts, that 
we are mortal, and when we have once persuaded ourselves of this, then 
let us make preparation for death. Oh think of it by thyself alone, think 
what it is to die, think what is concluded* in that short word, think what 
is thy preparation to it, think what business is about it, think what treads 
on the heels of it when thou art gone. ' It is appointed to men to die once, 
and after that comes the judgment,' Heb. ix. 27. Consider, I say, by 
thyself, what it is to die, consider with other folk, with other people. Be 
ready to speak of it, as Barzillai doth, to mind thyself and others of mor- 
tality : and more than this, make preparation, set thy house in order, set 
thy heart in order. 

Preparation to death. For thy house, for thy persons, goods, or chil- 
dren, look thou set them in order. 

First, For thy persons, dispose of thy children as Barzillai doth here. 
Dispose of thy family, of thy kindred, place them in caUings, dispose of 
them for thy habitation. As Isaac and Jehoshaphat, and others in Scrip- 
ture, give them good instructions, leave them precepts that shall stick by 
them when thou art dead and gone. 

Second, For thy goods, dispose of them, ; what is evil gotten restore, what 
is well gotten dispose to pious and merciful uses, to thy family, to those 
that may challenge right in thee. And it is good to set these things in 
order before such time as death cometh. Oh, my brethren, it is a miser- 
able madness among the sons of men. They defer these weighty and 
important businesses to the last hour. When the powers of nature are 
shaken, when their wits and memories fail, when their speech and under- 
standing leaves them, then, then they go about the most important business 
of all others. Do this in time ; have thy will ready about thee, dispose of 
thy family, of thy estate, whilst thou art in memory and understanding. 

Third, As thy house must be disposed of, so much more thy heart must be 
disposed of. 'Eepent of thy sins, pluck out the sting of death, which is sin ; 
' the sting of death is sin.' Death cannot hurt where there is repentance 
of sin. Sin unrepented will bring a sting in the time of death. It will fill 
the heart with sorrow, and the soul with amazement, and the conscience 
with terror. Pull out the sting, and then thou shalt triumph over death, 
and over the grave, and say, ' death, where is thy sting ? grave, where 
is thy victory ? ' 1 Cor. xv. 55. hell, where is thy triumph ? Satan, 
where is thy malice and power ? Nothing is able to do thee harm. 

Fourth, In the next place, labour to take possession of heaven now. Make 

entrance into it while thou art here, by getting the life of Christ, and the 

life of faith in thee, by getting the saving graces of the Spirit in thee. If 

these things be in thee and be not unfruitful, then thou shalt have entrance, 

* That is, ' shut up,' == included. — G. 



as Peter speaks, ' into the inheritance and kingdom,' 2 Pet. i. 11. This 
then is somewhat, that we should have said more largely, if we had had 
more time and fitness to have spoken to the first point ; and therefore we 
will but name to you some other particulars that we should have spoken to. 

In the next place, you see his second reason why he would not be a 
courtier, is, that now his natural parts, his outward senses begin to fail, 
that he found his sight to decay, that he could not discern colours; 
his taste wasted, he could not distinguish between sweet and sour ; his 
ears were not serviceable ; now the mirth, and music, and melody of the 
court was nothing to him. Herein then we see in the next place how it 
fares with us. 

Voct. 2. That natural parts and powers uill decay with age. Age will 
decay and wear out our nature. All parts, and powers, and faculties what- 
soever they be, time and age will wear out. The clothing both of the 
body and of the mind, age wears out the clothing of the body, and the gar- 
ment of the mind, as it were. The mind and the soul is clothed with flesh. 
This body of ours, our flesh, is clothed with other raiment. Time wears 
out the one as well as the other. The heaven and the earth, which are 
more durable than man, yea, than a generation of men, as Solomon saith : 
Eccles. i. 4, * Man dieth, a generation of men pass away, but the earth 
stands,' and much more the heavens continue ; yet the heavens and the 
earth, they are as a garment, they wax old and are soon changed, as the 
Holy Ghost tells us, Isa. 1. 9, much more the sons of men. Yea, the water 
by drops wastes the stones, nay, a rock of stones, nay, a mountain of stones, 
as it is in Job xiv. 19, and therefore it will consume in time flesh and blood. 
To stand to prove this is needless ; I will give you some instances for the 
enlightening of the point, and so end. 

1. First, Isaac, when he was an old man, when he waxed old, his sight 
was thick and dim, as in Gen. xxvii. 1. David in 2 lungs i., when he 
was stricken in age, when he was passed on in years, then saith the text, 
David's natural heat began to decay, and they were fain to apply means to 
help him; so Solomon in Eccles. xii. 1, a place known, tells us that evil 
days will come, and cloud will follow upon cloud, and then the keepers of 
the house, the hands, will wax feeble ; the pillars of the house, the legs 
and thighs, will wax faint and weak ; those that look out at the windows, 
the eyes, will be dark and duskish ; then all the daughters of music, the 
eaxs, they will begin to wax thick too and heavy, and so of the rest, as we 
see there (c). We cannot stand on particulars. 

Ohj. If any man object, and say, How can this be, sith the soul of a man 
is no material thing, and it is the soul that sees, and the soul that hears, 
and not the body ; and, therefore, why should the seeing, and hearing, and 
these senses decay ? 

Ans. The answer is very easy. The soul doth these things, but it useth 
the body as an instrument and organ, and so it must work according to the 
nature of the instrument. Let a man be never so good a horseman, and 
never so cunning in the way, he must travel as his horse will give him 
leave. So in this case, let the soul be never so active and full of life, it 
must perform its actions as the organ and instrument, the members of the 
body are disposed. Now the body is frail and mortal in a double regard. 

First, In regard of the curse and sentence of God passed upon man, * In 
the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt die the death,' Gen. iii. 3. 

Secondly, In regard of the matter whereof man's body is compounded 
and made. If you make an house of weak and rotten timber, it will decay ; 


if you make a coat of tliat which is not very sound and durable, it vrill not 
last. Man's body is made of such matter, of such metal, of such timber, 
of such stuff, it will not hold out ; therefore in time it wastes and rots in 

Use 1. For the use of this, thus much in brief. Sith these bodies, the 
natural faculties and powers, will decay and wear out in time, let us iwjnove 
them ivhile ux have them ; let us make use of them, as we do of other instru- 
ments while they are fit for use. Memory will decay, therefore let us 
labour to treasure up good things in our memories, lay up things worthy 
to come into a treasury, and not bad things. That is Solomon's use that 
he makes : ' Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth,' saith he, 
Eccles. xii. 1. Long before the evil days come, and before the decay of 
thy natural powers, employ thyself well, redeem the time. So say I to 
you ; use memory whiles it lasteth, use wit whiles it lasteth, for the truth : 
' Do nothing against the truth,' as Paul speaks of himself, 2 Cor. siii. 8 ; 
so for thine eyes, let them be casements to let in fresh air, and not to let 
in corruption ; use thy ears for wholesome instructions ; use thy feet for 
good purposes, to follow the ways to the house of God ; use thy hands, 
employ them in profitable business while you can work. This providence* 
men have for their outward estate, and for the body. When we are young 
we provide for age, we provide somewhat to keep us when we are old. Let 
us do somewhat for our spiritual estate. You that have young and fresh 
wits, fresh memories, and eyes, and ears, and hands, and feet, all the parts 
of your bodies and powers of your souls, ready to do service, improve your 
time, lay hold on the opportunity. Now is the time of reading, now is the 
time of learning, now is the time of gathering, now is the time of yom- 
harvest ; provide for winter ; there will evil days come, cloud will follow 
cloud, as Solomon speaks. 

Use 2. Secondly, here is another point of instruction : since this is so, 
that the natural powers and faculties will fail, let us therefore strive to get 
more than this which is natural. Since this will away, let us provide some 
more durable substance. You know when an old suit fails, we think of 
getting a new suit of apparel ; when the old lease is expired, we think 
where to get another habitation ; we begin to take a new state, and a new 
lease. As we do thus in matters of this life, so we should do much more for 
matters of the soul. When we see the natural life will not hold out, and 
that it cannot continue long, oh, labour, labour, my brethren, for a better 
life, for another life, a life that is heavenly, a life that is supernatural ; get 
the life of God in you, and then you shall never die. To this end, get the 
fountain of life, Christ, to be yours, receive him into your understandings by 
knowledge, into your hearts by love and affection ; receive him, and clasp 
him, and take him to yourselves by faith, and he that believes in him shall 
never die ; yea, though he die, he shall live ; he shall live in death, and 
shall outlive death,',as Christ tells us in that place of the Gospel, John 
XV. 26. And when you have this fountain of life, that Christ lives in you, 
that you live not your own life, that you live not the life of Adam, the life 
of nature, 

First, Labour to act to this life. Life is made up of many actions, so is 
the life of God too. 

Secondly, If we live the life of Christ, and act it when he puts Hfe into 
us, we shall labour to mortify the lusts of tlie flesh, and of the old man. So 
much corruption, so much death ; so far as sin lives, so far the man dies. 
* That is, ' forethought,' = care. — G. 


Thirdly, Labour to exercise and to stir up those rjraces of the Spirit that Christ 
hath bestoived on us ; and so much as faith lives, and as patience lives, and 
as charity lives, and the graces of God's Spirit live in us, so much we live, 
and live that life that shall never be determined* and take end. That is 
another thing briefly. 

Yet we add one thing more. 

Use 3. In the third place, so this may serve to shew ivho is the ivisest 
man in the world, who makes the wisest choice ; for wisdom is most seen 
in comparative actions. When things are compared together, and a choice 
is made of things that excel each other, lay the comparison. Who is the 
wisest man ? Some men are for outward things ; no man is admired of 
them but for his natural parts. We look who hath the finest hand, who 
hath the finest eye, who hath the finest wit, and the best memory for natu- 
ral regards. This man regards this man, and commends this. This man 
applauds a child, chooseth a wife, respects men for these things, and for 
these only. But now spiritual things, heavenly endowments, these things 
commend a man ; they make the man in truth, they are the whole 
man, as in Eccles. xii. 13. You know that Christ saith, when he comes to 
determine the question between two sisters, ' Martha, Martha, Mary hath 
chosen the better part,' Luke x. 42. And why the better part ?j She hath 
chosen that which ' shall not be taken from her.' So he makes the best 
choice then, that prefers those things that are most durable, those things 
that will last, those things that death cannot kill, those things that sickness 
cannot make sick, those things that weakness cannot weaken, that no out- 
ward thing can deprive us of, those supernatural, spiritual, heavenly graces. 
A wise man prefers these before all natural parts whatsoever. That is the 
second thing. 

Boct. 3. There is a third thing that we should have spoken to, and that is 
this, that not only natural jmrts, but natural comforts and delights, ivear away. 

So Barzillai tells us, he takes no comfort in that he sees, in that he 
tasted, in that he heard. All matter of delights in nature were taken from 
him. So that natural delights and comforts they wear out, that as it is 
said of Sarah, * it was not with her after the former manner ;' so we may 
say of all natural delights and comforts, in time it will be with the eye, it 
will be with the ear, it will be with the taste, that nature will be so, that it 
will not be with them after the manner of the eye, after the manner of the 
taste, after the manner of the ear ; they shall be as if a man had no eyes, 
as if he had no taste, as if he had no hearing at all. This we might shew 
in many instances, but this shall suffice, because we would pass to the 
grounds ; and the reason it is clear. 

Reason 1. First, All natural objects from whence natural delights and 
contentments arise, they fail in time. 

Ueason 2. Secondly, The natural senses and means whereby men appre- 
hend these, they wax dim, and slow, and heavy, and so they perform their 
actions and their functions with tediousness, because they do it not with 
alacrity, therefore it is not done with dehght. 

Eeason 3. Further, again, because these very things in themselves in 
time will work a satiety of all natural dehghts, a man shall be filled with 
them, not only with the world, but with the lusts of the world. The desire of 
earthly things will vanish too, 1 John ii. 16, 17. So the eye is never satisfied 
with seeing, or the ear with hearing ; these things cannot quiet the appe- 
tite, they cannot fill the mouth of the desire, these things cannot give con- 
* That is, ' terminated'. — G, 


tentment. All natural things are so short and finite, that in time they wear 
out, that a man shall be dulled and tired with them. 

Ifse. The use we should make of this should have been thus much : first 
of all it serves to teach us this lesson, that therefore we should not rest, ive 
should not lean too much upon natural comforts and delights, trust not to 
natural cheerfulness, to natural courage, as if these would bear us through 
all perils, and dangers, and fears, and as if these would carry us through 
all griefs and heart-breakings. No ; nature is a little finite thing ; it hath 
its latitude and its extent as a bow hath, which, drawn beyond the compass, 
breaks in pieces ; or as an instrument, the string of an instrument, strain 
it to an higher pitch, it snaps asunder ; so it is with nature too, draw it 
beyond the pitch, it breaks. You cannot lay much upon the back of 
nature, but it crusheth it, and breaks it, it falls asunder ; and therefore 
rest not too much in natural parts, for wit and cheerfulness, all these shall 
fail in time. 

Obj. Ay, but nature is propped up with art. 

Ans. It may be so for a time, but that is patchery. It may be for a 
time. If natural delights fail, much more will artificial ; if true fire can- 
not warm a man, and give him relief, painted fire cannot do it. But so it 
is that natural and artificial things fail in time. Let a man's eye be made 
of glass in spectacles, and that which is made of flesh as the natural eye, 
both the natural and artificial eyes, both turn to dust at length. Let a 
man have a leg, a crutch of wood, or a leg of flesh, as the natural leg, yet 
both come to dust and ashes in time. All natural and artificial things 
decay at the last. 

Obj. Ay, but carnal delights will help a man. 

Ans. Least of all : if wine will not comfort a man, poison will not. Now 
all carnal pleasures and delights are poison. Where shall we go then for 
comfort and delight ? Yet above all the creatures, there be joys I confess 
to be had, that will drink up all tears, all sorrows ; there be comforts to 
be had, that will carry a man over all discouragements and grievances ; 
there be everlasting joys, unutterable comforts, inconceivable hopes, and 
peace of conscience, that will carry a man through sickness, and through 
pain, and through poverty and shame, through death and all, and will never 
give him over ; a peace that will be with a man in his bed, that will run 
with him when he flies before the enemy ; a peace that will follow him to 
his grave, and beyond the grave ; a peace that will live with him when he 
dies, that will follow him to the throne and tribunal of Christ, and will set 
a crown of glory and grace upon him at the last. These joys and comforts 
be to be had. Oh make out for them, my brethren ; seek the joys that are 
spiritual, seek the comforts of the Scriptures, rejoice in this, ' that your 
names are written in heaven,' Luke x. 20 ; rejoice in this,Hhat God is your 
Father ; rejoice that Christ dwells in you ; rejoice that heaven is yours, 
that Christ is yours, that God is yours, that the promises and the cove- 
nant is yours ; and these be the joys that no man can take from you, that 
nothing can take from you. These will make you rejoice in sorrow, these 
will make you live in death. As I said before, labour for these that may 
carry you over all troubles, and miseries, and terrors whatsoever. That is 
another point. There are divers others I was thinking to have said some- 
thing to, for I intended no more but only to give you some general heads, 
some words of instruction in general out of this large text ; but I know not 
how theHime hath overslipped us in speaking this little that we have ; and 
therefore we will go no further at this time. 



(a) P. 37. ' " How many," saith the Original, " are the days of my years ?" ' So 
commonly in the margin of our English Bible, ' How many days are the years of 
my life ?' Cf. Ps. xc. 12. 

(b) P. 38. ' The heathen had some to call upon them,' &c. Cf. Note z. Vol. II. 
p. 435. 

(c) P. 43. ' Keepers of the house,' &c. It is interesting to compare this inciden- 
tal exposition of a difficult figurative passage, with modern interpretations, e. g., 
Wardlaw, Macdonald (of America), Moses Stuart, and Ginsburg. Sibbes diflfera 
somewhat. G. 





' Discouragement's Recovery ' forms No. 2 of the Sermons in the first edition of 
the Saint's Cordials (1629). It was withdrawn in the two subsequent editions. 
Valuable and suggestive in itself, this sermon has the additional interest of being 
from a verbally parallel text with that on which ' The Soul's Conflict' is based ; 
and is thus, in all probability, its first form. The separate title-page is given be- 
low,* G. 


ding, quarrelling with it selfe, is at length reduced 

and charged to doe that, which must and should be the 

true vpshot of all Distempers. 

Vprightnes Hath Boldnes. 

PsAL. 31.21, 22. 

Blessed be the Lord, for he hath shewed me his marnellous kindnesse in a strong 

1 said in mine haste, 1 am cut off from before thine eyes, neuerthelesse thou heardest 
the voice of my supplications, when I cryed vnto thee. 

L N D ON, 

Printed in the yeare 16 2 9. 


WJiy art thou cast down, my soul ? and why art thou disquieted ivithin me ? 
hope in God ; for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my counte- 
nance, and my God. — Ps. XLIII. 5. 

This psalmwas penned by David, which shews the passions of his soul ; 
for God's children know the estate of their own souls for the strengthening 
of their trust and bettering their obedience. Now this is the difference 
between psalms and other places of Scripture. Other scriptures speak 
mostly from God to us ; but in the Psalms, this holy man doth speak 
mostly to God and his own soul ; so that this psalm is an expostulation of 
David with his own soul in a troubled estate, when being banished from the 
house of God, he expostulates the matter with his soul : ' Why art thou 
cast down, my soul ? and why art thou disquieted within me ? ' The 
words contain, 

1, David's perplexed estate ; and, 2, His recovery out of it. 

His perplexity is laid down in these words : ' Why art thou cast down, 
my soul ? ' &c. His recovery out of it is first by questioning with him- 
self : ' Why art thou cast down, my soul ? ' and then by a charge laid 
upon his soul : ' Trust in God ;' and this trust is amplified from the matter, 
for what his soul should trust in God : * I shall yet praise him, and give 
him thanks ;' that is, I shall be delivered, for which delivery my heart will 
be enlarged to give him thanks. Because this is my God, my salvation, 
and my help, there is the ground of my faith and trust. 

1. For the first, which is his perplexity, consider the way, how he comes 
to he thus perplexed. 

(1.) He ivas in great troubles and afflictions. So that it is seen, God 
suffers his children to fall into extremities, many and long and great afflic- 
tions and troubles, ere deliverance come. They are most sensible of 
spiritual crosses by reason of the life of grace that is in them ; and there- 
fore it is that these do cast them down more than all other things. The 
want of spiritual means makes them thirst more than any want else ; yea, 
than the hart which brayeth after rivers of water, Ps. xlii. 1. Spiritual 
wants grieve much, spiritual thirst is strong, and the life of grace must be 
kept. Now to want the means which must do it, this toucheth him more 
than all the rest. 

A soul that is lively in grace cannot endure to live under small means of 

52 discotjeagement's kecovert. 

salvation, much less to endure blasphemous reproaches. Therefore such 
persons who can content themselves with small or any means, with small 
comforts, without labouring and striving after more sweet and near com- 
munion with God, they have cause to fear their own estates. A child, so 
soon as it is born, if it be not still-born, cries and seeks for the breast, 
which puts it out of all question there is life in it, though never so weak. 
So the life of grace begun in us is known by our spiritual appetites and 
desire aft^r the means of grace. 

(2.) The second thing that troubled this holy man, was the hlaspTiemous 

xvords of tciched men. Therefore if we would try our state to be good, see 

how we take to heart everything that is done against religion. Can a child 

be patient when he sees his father abused ? When a man sees the gospel 

of God trodden down, for a man now to be quiet, that shews his heart is 

dead. It is better to rage than to be quiet in such a case ; for that shews 

life, though with much distemper. God will set light by his salvation that 

sets hght by his honour. The enemy said, * "Where is now thy God ? ' Ps. 

xlii. 10. This went to David's heart. What doth the enemy say now at 

this day ? Where is now your God ? your reformed religion ? your Christ ? 

where is your God ? Well, they that are not affected with this are in 

an evil and in a dangerous state, let them judge of themselves what they 

will. God's children are sensible of such things ; they are men, and not 

stones flesh, and not iron. Therefore it is no wonder that they are so 

sensible of our times, and take them to heart as they do ; forget their 

wounds, and mingle their passion with their aiflictions, that so perplexeth 

their minds. Thus David was troubled, and over-troubled and grieved, 

and that too much, for he checks himself: ' Why art thou cast down, 

my soul ? ' Indeed, by nature we have no bounds in our affections ; if we 

joy, we joy too much ; if we sorrow, we sorrow too much. Grace only doth 

qualify all our actions and affections, and where there is no grace there is 

either all joy or all sorrow. Nabal, when he did begin to joy, he joys 

over much, and when he did begin to sorrow, he exceeded in that, 1 Sam. 

XXV. 36, 37. A wicked man hath nothing to uphold him, and therefore he 

is over head and ears in all that he doth. The child of God is kept upright 

by that which is wrought in his heart, whereby his sorrow and joy is mixed 


' Why art thou cast down, my soul ?' The point is this, 
Obs. 1. That it is a sin for a child of God to be too much discouraged and 
cast down in afftictions, nay, I add more, though the cause be good, as it was 
here, to be banished and want means of comfort ; in this case, to be too 
much cast down and disquieted, it argues a distempered heart. 

Quest. But how shall we know when a man is cast down too much ? for 
it is a sinful thing in a man not to be sensible of that which lies upon 

Ans. The soul is cast down too much, to name this one for many, ivhen 
our mourning and sorrow brings us not to God, but drives us from God. 
Grief, sorrow, and humility are good ; but discouragement is evil. That 
which brings a man from delighting, from trusting in God, which hinders 
a man in his calHng, either as he is a Christian, or in his particular calling, 
by this he may know he is in excess. As the children of Israel were in 
great trouble under Pharaoh, and heeded not therefore unto that which 
Moses spake unto them for anguish of spirit, Exod. vi. 9. The husband 
and wife must not live at odds, lest their prayers be interrupted, 1 Pet. 
iii. 7. No ; though the cause be never so good, they must not be over much 

discoueagement's recoveby. 53 

troubled ; therefore, when Christians exceed in anything, they do it not as 
Christians, but as they are men overcome of their passions. 

Quest. "What is the ground why casting down and disquieting is a sin ? 

Ans. 1. Because it doth turn to the reproach of religion and God himself y 
as if there were not strength in the promises of God to uphold a soul in the 
time of trouble and disquietment. 

2. Because their so sinking under afflictions never yields any good fruit. 
Yea, the devil himself, in such a case, will say, God neglecteth thee, — thus 
joining his temptations with thy corruptions, — then where art thou ? And, 
therefore, I beseech you consider. What ! Shall a father neglect his own 
children so much that they should be cast down, whenas he only* knoweth 
what they want, and hath in his own power to give all that is good ? 

3. Because it hinders us both from and in holy duties. For where the 
soul is cast down, either we do not perform holy duties at all, or otherwise 
they are done but weakly ; for as the troubled eye cannot see well, so the 
troubled soul cannot do good, nor receive good. It is the quiet soul that 
both receiveth and doeth good as it ought to be done ; for quietness is the 
stay of the soul, either to do or receive. Holy things are not accepted of 
God by the stuff of them, but by the willingness and cheerfulness in doing 
of them. Thus, when the soul is too much cast down, God accepts not so 
well of the actions, because they want life. Then it plainly appears to be 
a sin thus to be cast down. Therefore, holy David takes up his soul and 
chides himself downright : ' Why art thou cast down, my soul ? and why 
art thou so unquiet within me ?' If this be so, that it is a sin to be too 
much cast down, what shall we say of those who disquiet themselves in and 
for a vain shadow ? Ps. xxxix. 6. They trouble themselves so much about 
vain things that they are discouraged from doing good. The holy man doth 
in this case raise up his soul ; for the Spirit of God saith, * This is the 
way, walk in it; and this you should have done, but herein you fail, and 
here is your wants,' Isa. xxx. 21. Thus I thought good to enlarge this 

Obs. 2. ' Why art thou cast down, my soul?' The word in the ori- 
ginal shews it is the nature of sorrow, to bring the soul downwards [a). Sorrow 
and sin agree both in this, for as they come from below, so they bring the 
soul downwards to the earth. The devil, ever since he was cast down 
himself, labours to cast all down. His voice is, Down, down to the ground. 
He would have no man stay in going down in afflictions or desperation. 
The new creature created by the Spirit of God is clean contrary ; for that 
is all upward. Where the hope is, there the soul loves to be in thought 
and meditation, and all that it doth or can do is to go upwards. 

' Why art thou cast down, my soul? and why art thou so disquieted?' 
Here are two words used, ' Why art thou cast down? why art thou so dis- 

Quest. What is meant by casting down? and why doth he find fault 
with himself for it ? 

Ans. Because it breeds disquieting. I say casting down, when it is not 
with humility, but discouragement, breeds disquieting ; but when it is 
joined with humility, that raiseth the soul to see mercy, in which sort, if 
God doth cast us down to humble us, it is to raise us up with so much the 
sweeter consolation ; for so much as the soul is cast down by God, so much 
it is raised up by God. But the soul that is cast down by Satan rests not 
in God, but is troubled, as Ps. xxxvii. 1, it is said, ' Fret not thyself,' &c. 
* That is, ' he alone.' — Gt. 

54 discouragement's eecovery. 

So a man may know when his soul murmurs, and his fretting is against 
God himself, or against the instrument of the sinful discouragement of his 
soul, being over much cast down. Here is no true humiliation, but abun- 
dance of corruption, which brings vexation and disquietments. But I 
hasten to that which I have further to deliver, * Why art thou so cast 
down, my soul?' He doth check himself because he was thus cast 
down and disquieted. Here, then, you see, 

1, David's perplexity; and, 2, the particular branches thereof, casting 
down, and disquieting. 

Quest. What was the reason why he was thus cast down ? 

Ans. The reason is in the words, — a reason from the contrary. He 
reproves his soul for being thus cast down ; he doth check and command 
himself to wait and trust in God ; he checks his soul ; which shews he had 
no good reason why he was thus cast down. Wherefore should he ask 
this reason, but that there was no just cause, but sophistical reasoning, 
which bred this ? As Jonah iv. 9, God demands, ' Dost thou well to be 
angry, Jonah?' As if he had said, There is no good cause. You may see, 
by this manner of asking, the cause was ignorance and false reasoning, 
false trust and want of trusting in God. There is no discouragement in 
any aflfliction or trouble whatsoever, but it is for the want of knowing the 
ground wherefore God doth it. First, sometimes for the exercise of our 
graces, as well as for our sins. Again, forgetfulness of God's dealing, as 
Heb. xii. 5, ' You have forgotten the consolation which speaks unto you,' 
&c. And sometimes we are troubled in affliction because we do not examine 
the cause rightly with our own souls. Many go to the highest step of the 
ladder, to their election, before they come to tlae fruits thereof, Rom. v. 1. 
I beseech you, let us be more wise. There be some people who do trouble 
themselves by seeking their comfort only in their sanctification, when it 
should be looked for in their justification ; and some others who trouble 
themselves about the issue of things for time to come, when we are com- 
manded not to care for to-morrow. Mat. vi. 34, and in the mean time 
neglect their duty in using lawful means, and trusting in God. Again, 
want of trusting in God; for when we trust not in God, then we have 
false trusts in the creature, or in something else. Then this follows: 
vanity will bring vexation of spirit. 

Thus, when vanity goes before, there will come vexation after. There- 
fore when men do set upon doing any good, or suffering for good, by their 
own strength, and trust not in God for a constant supply, this moves God 
to take away his support, and then they fall most shamefully. Nay, when 
a man trusts in himself, and In his present grace, more than in God, he 
shall be sure to fall ; for we must trust in God for time to come for fresh 
grace, and pray that God would renew his graces, to strengthen us in every 
trouble and affliction. The cause why God's children do so miscarry in 
times of trouble is, because they trouble themselves, and do not trust in 
God for a new supply of grace. We cannot perform new duties, and 
undergo new sufferings, with old graces. So now you have some causes 
why men are thus cast down and disquieted ; false trust, or else not trust- 
ing in God, as if the prophet had said, ' Why art thou cast down, my 
soul?' The reason is this, thou dost not trust in God as thou shouldst 
do; therefore it was our Saviour reproved Peter when he feared, saying, 
* thou of little faith,' Mat. xiv. 31. It was not the greatness of the 
waves, but the weakness of his faith, which made him faint. In truth, 
the cause of our trouble and disquieting is either for want of faith or want 



in faith, whereby we cannot rely upon God in our troubles and afflictions ; 
for the soul being weak of itself, it hath need of something to rely upon, as 
a weak plant had need of a supporter. Now that which gives answerable 
strength is our relying upon God. When we omit this, then comes dis- 
quieting and troubles in our souls. And so I end the point of perplexity, 
and come to the charge that he lays upon his own soul, saying, Trust in 
God. His remedy is double. 

1. First, A reflecting action upon his soul, ' Why art thou disquieted, 
my soul?' 

2. Secondly, A command laid upon his soul, * Trust in God.' 
Before I come to particulars, observe in general this point, 

Boct. 3. That God's children, in their greatest troubles, recover themselves. 
For here was the trouble, and his disquietness for the trouble. He was in 
temptation, afflictions, and discouragements. Here was Satan tempting, 
and the corruptions boiling, and God withdrawing the sense of his love, 
leaving David for a while to himself; and yet, notwithstanding, at length 
he breaks through all, and expostulates the matter with himself. So God's 
children, when they are in troubles, though never so great, they can recover 
and comfort themselves. And in truth the holy Scripture shews this; for 
this trusting and relying on God in extremities is a diflference betwixt the 
child of God and an" hypocrite. A little cross will not try men's graces so 
as great ones. As in Saul, it brings him to great trouble, and then he 
goes to the witch, and then see what becomes of him, 1 Sam. xxviii. 7. 
But the child of God, in his greatest troubles, he having the Spirit of God 
to strengthen him, he rests upon God, as is shewed, Rom. viii. 26. In 
the greatest troubles, the Spirit doth help our infirmities ; and in the lowest 
depth of trouble, there is the Spirit of comfort. Now this Spirit works 
faith, that enables us to send out strong prayers and cries, which cry loud 
in God's ear. The child of God can mourn, and cry, and chatter, striving 
against deadness, and against his infidelity, and strives for comfort as for 
life ; so, when they are at the lowest, they can recover themselves. God's 
children, at the beginning of trouble, do labour to recover themselves 
presently : ' Why art thou disquieted within me ?' He stops himself at the 
first. Jonah was to blame this way ; he did feed and flatter himself, and 
would not stand to expostulate with his heart, Jonah iv. 9 ; but David 
doth not so here, but saith, ' Why art thou so cast down, my soul? and 
why art thou so disquieted?' There is a contrary spirit in them who are 
not God's children; for they do feed upon mischief, wickedness, and dark 
conceits, according to which apprehensions they make their conclusions ; 
but God's children, knowing their own estates, they reprove themselves, and 
say, ' Why art thou cast down, my soul? why art thou so troubled?' 

Doct. 4. Again, see the excellent estate of the soul. It is an atheistical 
conceit that the soul doth arise out of the temper of the body ; for that 
cannot be, because we see the soul doth cross our nature, and cross itself; 
much more the body. How can this be, if it rise of the body, that it should 
cross itself, and the very inclinations to evil? For though the soul be 
ready to run to excess of melancholy and excess of joy, yet there is resist- 
ance in the soul, and striving against these things in some measure ; for in 
every Christian there are three men. 

(1.) First, The natural man, the good creature of God, having understand- 
ing, will, and afiection. 

(2.) There is nature under the ' spirit of bondage,' which we call * the 
old man.' 

56 discouragement's recovery. 

(3.) There is the ' new man,' framed by the ' Spirit of God,' which doth 
strive against the corruption of his nature; for nature cannot but be 
troubled in afflictions. This we see in Adam in his innocency ; yea, in 
Christ himself. Grace doth stay us in this state, then much more doth 
grace stop nature. In the excellent state of the soul, having the Spirit of 
God in him, whereby a man is raised up above himself, and humbles him- 
self, this is the excellency of the spiritual nature of the soul, and especially 
the excellency of the Spirit in the soul. The soul can check the body, and 
the Spirit can check both soul and body. Well, this I speak but in a 
word; for I will not stand upon it, but only to shew the nature of the 

Quest. It may be asked. How shall we know in these things, when any- 
thing comes from the Spirit, and not from the natural soul ? for here is 
nature, flesh, and the Spirit. 

Ans. I answer, when there is [the] Spirit in a man, that doth cross the 
natural constitution of the body, and checks the constitution of his soul 
being in affliction and discouraged in it, that thereby a man recovers him- 
self again. 

Afflictions of the soul are the greatest and worst of all, yet in this estate 
his soul doth carry him upward; and therefore there must be something 
in him that is better and above nature, which enables him to check and 
reprove himself. Now, this must needs be an excellent thing. "Why? 
Because this is the Spirit of God, which enables us to strive, as Job did : 
' Though thou kill me, yet will I trust in thee,' Job xiii. 15. And our 
blessed Saviour in his depths of afflictions cries, * My God, my God, why 
hast thou forsaken me?' Mat. xxvii. 46. The sense of his present state 
caused him to cry out as if God had forsaken him ; yet herein the blessed 
Spirit doth raise him up, for he cries, • My God.' Thus we see when 
there is a crossing of ourselves in that state which we are in, this is a 
sign that it comes from the Spirit of God, and not from nature : * Why art 
thou so cast down, why art thou so disquieted within me, my soul ?' 
Another thing that I observe is this, 

Doct. 5. That the prerogative of a Christian in these disquietings, and in 
all estates, is, he hath God and himself to sj)eak unto, uhereby he can remove 
solitariyiess. Put him into a dungeon, yet he may speak unto God there, 
and speak unto himself. 

This is an excellent state. He who hath laid up store of grace before- 
hand, he can reprove and cross himself, and in his depths cry out unto 
God. Therefore take a Christian in the worst estate of all others, yet he 
can improve his estate to the best before God, whereby, even then, he 
hath an happy communion with God. This is a comfort to a Christian, 
when he hath nothing to comfort himself withal ; as David here had 
neither goods, nor comforts, nor prophets, nor the tabernacle with him, 
yet he had his good God to go unto, who was the only thing he had ; and 
when he speaks comfortably' unto him, then David speaks as comfortably 
unto his soul : ' Why art thou cast down, my soul ? ' 

Let all the tyrants in the world do their worst to a Christian, if God be 
with him, he is cheerful still. This is plentifully seen in David. He was 
vexed outwardly, punished, persecuted, and banished from God's house, 
yet he goes unto God ; and though he were vexed in his soul in particular, 
yet he cries out, ' Why art thou so vexed within me, why art thou so un- 
quiet ? ' 

The point from hence is this, 

disooueagement's recovery. 57 

Boct. 6. The best way to establish the soul is to deal ivith our oicn souls, 
and to begin with them first, and proceed in a judicial manner, as this holy 
prophet of the Lord did. When we are in any troubles and afflictions, do 
not go to the trouble, but go to the soul ; for if the soul be not set in right 
frame, and quieted, we cannot endure anything. But if we can set and 
frame ourselves to God, all the tyrants in the world, and all the devils in 
hell, cannot hurt us. The devil comes to our Saviour, but he could do 
him no harm, because there was nothing within him for him to fasten 
upon, John xiv. 30. Therefore this is the way, if we be in trouble, let all 
other things go, and lay the foundation of our quiet in God, and deal with 
our own souls. And the way to do this is to cite our souls before our- 
selves, hereby to make ourselves offenders and judges, teachers and 
scholars, as the prophet doth here : ' Why art thou so unquiet, my 
soul ? ' God hath erected a court in a man, that he may cite and con- 
demn himself. God hath set up this court, and given us this liberty, to 
prevent another examination, and condemnation for ever in the world to 
come. Therefore, 1 Cor. xi. 31, it is said, ' If we will judge ourselves, 
we shall not be judged of the Lord.' The way to do this is to call our 
own souls to a reckoning. This is to be strongly endeavoured for many 
reasons, that I will not stand upon, but only name some one of them. 

As, namely, because it is an hard thing. For there is an affection of 
nature, and an affection of rebellion, and strong motions, that keep the 
soul in such a thraldom that it cannot fully know itself; and for a man to 
know all things, and not to know himself, what a miserable thing is it ! 
What! to look altogether abroad, and never to look at home, that is_ a 
misery of all miseries. Well, if ever we would be saved, we must do this. 
If we would begin with ourselves, we might put the devil and our tor- 
menting conscience out of office ; for the time will come when it will be 
objected. This and that have been our sins, and this is the state of your souls, 
will Satan say. Well, says the soul thus prepared, ' I know all this, I 
have accused myself before God for this, and I have made my peace with 
God.' But when we go on in sin, and leave all to God, then comes the 
devil and accuseth us, and our consciences take God's part; thus we go 
down to hell for ever. Therefore take warning of this betimes, and call 
thy soul to a reckoning. But I will not spend too much time to enforce 
this holy action. The way to bring our souls to this is, to furnish them 
with holy thoughts, to sanctify and season our judgments with holy 
touches, to know what is good, and to bring our souls to love and delight 
in it. But if we have not a judicature in us, we can never do this, for we 
must not go blindly about this work, but know what evil we have com- 
mitted, and which is done against this law, and which against that com- 
mandment. Thus a Christian must and will examine himself. But an 
ignorant person goes and never lays up anything in his soul ; and therefore 
though he hath power in his soul to do this, yet he doth it not, because he 
is an ignorant and blind man. 

Use. Well, let this serve to stir us up to be careful in this holy duty. 

Obj. But the hypocrite will say, Tush, this is hid, and the world sees it 
not; for me to take pains to work upon my soul, the world cannot see it; 
what profit comes by this course ? But the child of God is most busy and 
carefully employed about that which carries with itself least applause with 
the world. This is always a sure sign of a good heart ; for the best work 
of the new creature is within us, that the world cannot see. And therefore if 
ye will have sound assurance of salvation, then call often in question the 

58 discoubagement's eecovery. 

state of your own sonls, and labour to get this disposition, and inquire of 
your souls what is the reason. Do you well to be angry ? What ! thus 
angry ? At this time, and upon this occasion ? And, what ! do you well 
to be merry thus now ? If we could do this, what an excellent state of 
soul should we live in ! It would clear religion of many scandals. For 
from whence comes all these scandalous actions we fall into, but because 
we do not check ourselves in evil things before they break out into our 
lives ? The soul many times doth rise in rebellious motions, and troubles 
the Spirit of God in us ; but what an honour is it to a Christion to be free 
from scandal in this life, and to suppress evil in the beginning ! There 
is nothing that is evil but it is first in thought, then in affection, and then 
in action ; therefore if we could think when we are tempted to any evil, 
this thing will be a scandal, it will be open in the mouths of wicked men, 
it will grieve the true-hearted servants of God, oh how glorious might the 
servants of God shine in these woeful, dark, and sinful days ! Well, I 
beseech you, do but consider, and bring the practice and carriage of most 
men and women to this rule that I have laid down, and what a pitiful estate 
shall we find the most to be in, who would seem to be religious, whose lives 
declare this before men. 

Do but ask a covetous man why he is so extremely carried away with 
the things of this world; he answers by and by, Oh, he hath a great 
charge, and the times are hard ; and in the mean time he neglects wholly 
the making sure of his own salvation. Nay, come to God's children 
themselves, who do too much hunt after the things of this world, I say to 
them, and sometimes ye shall hear the same answer. But what, have not 
ye a Father to provide for you ? and this your Father, hath he not all 
things at his own disposing — having promised, you shall want nothing 
that is good — even he who is an infinite, loving, and merciful Father? I 
beseech you, consider what can we want, if we have faith to rely upon God ? 
And then consider how vile a thing covetousness is ; what for an old man 
now to be worldly, when one foot is in the grave ! So for a blasphemer to 
provoke the majesty of God, there is no reason to be given for it. For 
sin is an unreasonable thing, and it cannot endure this question. What 
reason is there for this and that^ Therefore the Scripture calls all wicked 
and ungodly men unreasonable men and fools, because they cannot give a 
good reason for anything they do. And therefore when they are in hell 
they may well say, We fools thought this and said thus. I beseech you, 
consider what reason is there that a man should sell God's favour, and the 
assurance of his salvation, for a wicked action, and for his lust, and for a 
little honour ; I say, consider what you shall get, and what you shall lose, 
even the hope of heaven, for the attaining at the best but of perishing things, 
and many times miss of them also. 

These things considered, the Spirit of God doth well to call us to ques- 
tion with ourselves, to give a reason for that we do, and then to censure 
ourselves, as David in another place did : ' How foolish was I, like a 
beast,' Ps. Ixxiii. 22.* And so, I beseech you, when you are tempted to 
any sin, then say. What a base thought is this ! what base thing is this ! 
is this according to my profession and religion ? If we would but thus 
examine and question ourselves, accuse and condemn ourselves, oh how 
happy and blessed creatures might we be ! And thus much for the first 

* It is Asaph, not David, who says so. — G. See, however, the first sentence of the 
next sermon, — Ed. 

discouragement's recovery. 59 

Now come we to the second : * Trust in God, wait on God.' Here is, 

1, An action; 2, a fit object. 

The action, trust; the object, God: 'wait on God,' for God is the only 
prop and rock whereon we may rest safe in time of danger. Waiting on 
God implies his meeting our souls, before we can have any comfort from 
him. Therefore all our care should be to bring God and our souls together. 
This trusting in God, and waiting for God, is an especial means to uphold 
us in our greatest troubles. This is the state of the new covenant ; for 
we have fallen in Adam by our infidelity, and must now have faith to 
recover ourselves, which is the applying grace that doth help us up, and 
enable us to wait on God and his truth, for they are all one. As a man of 
credit and his word are all one, so is our trusting in God and his trust* and 
promises. But because I have spoken of this trusting in God out of another 
place of Scripture,! I will be brief in it ; only I will now add something 
to help us on in this point, wherein our souls shall find so much comfort. 

Doct. 7. ' Trust in God.' This trusting in God is the way to quiet our 
souls, and to stay the same in every estate. The reason is, because God 
hath sanctified this holy grace to this end. This is the grace of the new 
covenant, the grace of all graces, which stays the soul in all disquietings 

The first thing that disquiets the soul is sin. Now God by his Spirit 
and word doth give us the pardon thereof. Therefore trust in God for 
this, and for life everlasting, and then trust in God in this life for whatso- 
ever thou dost want. Know that the same love of God that brings thee to 
everlasting hfe will give thee daily bread. Therefore trust in God for 
provision, for protection, and for whatsoever thou dost want. For the 
first thing that a troubled soul doth look unto is for mercy, salvation, and 
comfort ; and therefore in every troubled estate we have one thing or other 
still from God to comfort us. I say, if we be in trouble, there is answer- 
able comfort given us of God. Are we sick ? He is our health. Are we 
weak ? He is our strength. Are we dead ? He is our life. So that it 
is not possible that we should be in any state, though never so miserable, 
but there is something in God to comfort us. Therefore is God called in 
Scripture a rock, a castle, a shield. A rock to build upon, a castle wherein 
we may be safe, a shield to defend us in all times of danger, shewing that 
if such helps sometimes succour us, how much more can God. I beseech 
you, consider God is our 'exceeding great reward,' Gen. xv. 1. God is 
bread to strengthen us, and a Spirit of all comfort ; and indeed there is 
but a beam in the creature, the strength is in God. And if all these were 
taken away, yet God is able to do much more, and to raise up the soul. 
What ! can a castle or a shield keep a man safe in the time of danger ? 
how much more can God ! I beseech you, consider how safe was Noah 
when the ark was afloat, Gen. vii. 16. And why? Because God shut the 
door upon him and kept him there. Thus you see there is something in 
God for every malady, and something in the world for every trouble ; then 
' trust in God.' This is the way to quiet our souls. For as heavy bodies 
do rest when they come to the centre of the earth, so the soul, for joy, and 
for care, for trust, doth find rest in God when it comes to him and makes 
him her stay. The needle rests when it comes to the North Pole, and the 
ark rested when it came to the mount Ararat, Gen. viii. 4, so the soul rests 
safe when it comes to God, and till that time, it moves as the ark upon 

* Qu. 'truth?'— Ed. 

t See General Index under ' Trust,' and ' Soul's Conflict.' — G. . 



the waters. Therefore our blessed Saviour saith in Matthew, * Come unto 
me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and you shall find rest in 
your souls,' Mat. xi. 28. This holy man would have rest, therefore he 
saith, '0 my soul, wait upon God.' 

Quest. Well, in a word, how shall we know if we have this rest and trust 
in God or no ? 

Ans. By this which I have said ; for if we trust in God, then we will 
be quiet, for faith hath a quieting power. Therefore, if thou canst stay 
thyself, and rest upon God for provision, for protection, for all that helps 
thee from grace to glory, thou art safe. Again, faith hath a comforting 
power. There is a distinction between alchymy gold and true gold ; for 
that which is true will comfort the heart, but counterfeit faith, like alchymy 
gold, will not strengthen the heart. Therefore, if thou dost find thy faith 
strengthen thee, to cast thyself upon God and his mercy in Jesus Christ, 
then there is true faith. The garment of Christ, when it was but touched, 
there was virtue went out of it, so that the woman found strength 
therein to quench her bloody issue. Mat. ix. 21, xiv. 36 ; and dost not 
thou find strength from God to quench the bloody issue of sin in thy soul ? 
Then hast thou cause to doubt of the truth of thy faith ; for precious faith 
brings virtue from the root. As the tree doth draw strength from the 
earth to feed the body and the boughs, whereby it is fruitful, so faith 
brings virtue from Christ and his promises, which strengthens the soul. 

I beseech you consider, if you have your soul strengthened by the pro- 
mises of God, and the nature of God, it is a sign j'ou have true faith. 
What a shame is it for Christians, when they have an infinite God for their 
God, who hath made abundant promises, and have a rich Saviour, and yet 
they live so unquiet and discontented, and sometimes for earthly trash, as 
if there were no Father for them in heaven, nor providence upon earth ! 
Now, at this time, which are times of trouble abroad, wherein our faith 
should be exercised, how are the hearts of many cast down, as though God 
had cast away his care over his church ! Consider, I pray you, doth an 
husband cast away his care over his wife in time of danger when she is 
wronged ? No ; but is the more inflamed to be revenged : much more 
will God arise to maintain his own cause, but we must wait the time, 
knowing ' they that believe make not haste,' as it is Isa. xxviii. 16. 

Quest. But what is the matter for which we are to trust God ? ' I shall 
yet praise him.' 

Ans. His meaning is, though he be for the present in great afilictions, 
yet he shall be delivered. See the language of Canaan. The holy people 
of God, if they receive any deliverance, they give God the praise and glory, 
for this is all that God looks for ; if thou art in any afiliction, and God 
doth deliver thee, then to give him all the glory and the praise. So this 
holy man saith to his soul, 'God will deliver thee;' then saith the soul, 'I 
will praise him ; ' so he gives the delivered soul both matter and affection 
to praise his name. I beseech you, consider here when the soul hath 
nothing in itself to trust in, how it doth sustain itself by looking towards 
God. Christ himself, when he was in his extremities, looks upward to his 
Father in heaven. Mat. xxvi. 39, so this holy man comforts himself he shall 
be delivered. Thus he lays sound grounds in God, for there is no loose 
sands there. Therefore the ship of his soul rides safe. He trusts God for 
the present and for the time to come ; as though he should say. Though 
I am now in great affliction, yet it shall be better with me, howsoever it 
be now. 

discoubagement's eecotery. 61 

Use. Let us raise this comfort to ourselves, trust in God. What if we 
should live here all the days of our life in this troubled estate that we are 
now in ! ' Yet wait upon God, my soul, for I shall yet praise him.* 
We live here in many troubles and afflictions, and we sit down by the 
rivers of Babel. Well ! what if we die in this affliction ? Yet I shall have 
glory with Christ. Thus, I beseech you, extend this comfort to the whole 
church of God ; put the case the church be in trouble, what hath the 
church to do ? ' To wait on God ; ' because it shall have delivery, and all 
the true church shall praise God upon their delivery. God will deliver his 
church, and in the mean time preserve and provide for it. It is as dear 
unto him as the apple of his eye, it is his jewel, his vine which himself 
hath planted ; and therefore let us comfort ourselves with this. What though 
we are now cast down and in heaviness for the church of God abroad ; 
yet God will redeem Israel from all his iniquities, much more out of all 
his troubles and afflictions, Ps. cxxx. 8. The church must be delivered, 
and Babel must fall. Nay, the Holy Ghost saith it is fallen, Eev. xviii. 2, 
to shew the certainty of it, for God will do it. The Bed Sea and Jordan 
must return, and the church must sing praises for her deliver}^ ; and thus 
we do daily and continually wait upon God for the performance hereof. 

Quest. What ground hath this holy man for this waiting ? 

Ans. He is my present help and my God, he is my salvation and my 
God. The word is 'salvations:' he hath more salvations than one (h). 
Therefore though we be troubled with poverty, shame, or any other afflic- 
tion, yet God is salvations and helps. Consider this, if you are in trouble 
of conscience for sin, or Satan condemns you, then say that ' God is salva- 
tion ; ' if you are in trouble, God is deliverance ; if you are persecuted by 
any wicked malicious enemies, God is a castle : as Ps. xviii. 2, ' The Lord 
is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer ; my God, and my strength, 
in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and' my 
high tower.' ' Who is a rock, save our God ? I will call upon the name 
of the Lord, so shall I be delivered from all mine enemies.' Thus you see 
how David after all his victories describes God to be his God, and his sal- 
vation both for body and soul, for the present and for the time to come, 
with means, without means, and against all means. What a comfort is 
this ! He can command salvation, he can command the creature to save, 
and the devil himself to be a means to save us ; and if there be no means 
for thee to see, yet he can create means to do it in an instant. Thus God 
is our help ; and what a ground of comfort is this ! Therefore I beseech 
you be not discouraged. Mourn we may like doves, but not roar like 
beasts in our afflictions ; when we have humbled ourselves enough, then 
must we raise up our souls from our grief to another object. For a Chris- 
tian must look to divers objects : look to the trouble with one eye, and to 
God with the other, and know him to be his salvation. Then, let the 
trouble be what it will be, if God be thy deliverer ; it is no matter what the 
disease be, if God be thy physician. But many times we do betray our- 
selves into the hands of the devil for want of thinking of these things. 
' He is my God.' There is another ground of his comfort. Give me leave 
a little to unfold this sweet point. Consider therein with me two thinc^s. 

1. God is the God of his children. 2. He is so constantly. 

This is the ground of all comforts, God is my God, and God is our God. 
First, because he doth choose us, and call us in his due time, and then 
makes a covenant with us to be our God, and then he knows us, loves us, 
and preserves us, and so he is our God ; because they whom God doth 


choose, lie knows them for his own, and stirs up answerable affections, 
that we may take God, and know God to be ours. For there must be an 
action on God's part in taking and choosing us, and an action of soul in 
us to choose God again. If God say to our souls, I will be thy God, then 
our souls should answer God, ' Thou art the strength of my salvation.* 
First, God doth love us, then know us, and then we reflect God's love 
upon God. Again, he knows us, and we know him again ; he delights in 
us, and we delight in him. The Scriptures are full of speeches in this 
kind. There is a reciprocal natural passage between God and the soul ; 
for in covenant there must be consent on both sides, and then we make 
him our God when we choose him before all creatures both in heaven and 
in earth. Then we have familiarity with him, love him, and trust in him 
in all our necessities. 

Thus we see how God is said to be our God. First, God is ours by 
election, adoption, by sanctification and redemption. God is our God, by 
dwelling with us ; and this propriety, ' My God,' is the first of all ; for 
when God saith, ' Thou art mine,' the soul saith. Thou art mine, and shalt 
be mine. This is an everlasting covenant of salvation : God doth endure 
world without end. Our salvation is according to the nature of God, from 
everlasting to everlasting, from election to glory. Thus God is the God of 
Abraham from everlasting to everlasting ; he is the God of Abraham's body, 
now his soul is in heaven, and his body is in the dust. Mat, xxii. 32. 
Abraham hath a being in his love. And so we have an everlasting propriety 
therein, God takes us for ever, marries us for ever, Hos. ii. 19. Therefore 
we must trust in God, and wait upon God, for he is our God and our 

Use 1. I beseech you, give me a little leave to press this ; for certainly 
there is more comfort in this word ' My God,' than in all the words of the 
world ; for what is God to me if he be not my God, and so make me his ? 
For this same propriety of comfort is more than all the comforts in the 
world. We account a little patch of ground, or corner of an house of our 
own, more than all the city and town where we live. This comforts a man, 
when he can say, This is mine. As a man that hath a wife, it may be, she 
is not of the best, or the richest, or the fairest, yet she comforts him more, 
and he takes more content in her, than in all the women in the world, 
because she is his wife ; so if a man can say, ' my God,' he needs not 
say any more, for it is more than if he could say. All the world is mine. If 
we have God we have all, and if we had a thousand worlds, all were nothing 
to this, if we cannot say ' God is my God.' Therefore, though the child 
of God may seem to be a poor man, yet he is the only rich man. Other 
men have the riches of this world, as a kind of usurpers, for they have not 
the highest right unto them. Worldly men are like unto bankrupts, who 
are taken to be rich men because they have a great deal of goods in their 
possession, but the true right belongs to others, and so they prove in the 
end to be worth nothing. I beseech you, consider what God's servants 
have said heretofore : ' God is my portion,' Lam. iii. 24. If God be our 
God, then he will supply all our wants, as it shall make for the best unto 
us. This is a great comfort to all Christians in what estate soever. God 
in dividing things, it may be, he hath given others honours, beauty, and 
riches, and parts of nature. Well ! God falleth to thy lot. Let the world- 
lings, the lascivious and ambitious persons, make themselves merry with 
their portions in this life, yet let the Christian, in what estate soever, glory 
in his portion, for God is his, and all things else. Though there be many 

discouragement's recovery. 63 

changes in thyself, why shouldst thou be discouraged or disquieted in any 
state whatsoever ? God is thine to do thee good. 

Use 2. Again, Here is a ground of comfort against all losses ivhatsoever. 
The world, and worldly men, may strip us of these earthly things, vex our 
bodies, and restrain our liberties, and take away outward things from us ; 
but this is our comfort, they cannot take our God from us, for this is an 
everlasting portion, my God, my help, my all-sufficiency. In truth, friends, 
means, and life itself may be taken away, yet God will never fail nor forsake 
us. We are here to-day, and gone to-morrow, and life is the longest thing 
we have, for we may out-live our riches and honours. But what then ? 
Ps. xc. 1, 2, it is said, ' Thou art an everlasting habitation, from everlasting 
to everlasting,' and we dwell in the fear of God. We had a being in thy 
love, Lord, before ever we were born, and when we are dead, we are in 
thy love still. What a comfort is this to cause us to rest in our God, and 
that for ever ! But as for the wicked, it is not so with them ; their voice 
is, The * Philistines are upon me, and God hath forsaken me,' 1 Sam. 
xxviii. 15. This is a fearful speech, and is, or shall be, the voice of every 
wicked man ere long. Now they ruffle it out,* and none so free from care 
and trouble as they ; but where is their comfort when their consciences 
shall be awakened ? Then their voice will be. Death and hell and all are 
upon me, and God hath forsaken me ; what shall become of me and mine ? 
But as for the children of God, let what will come upon them, yet God can 
command salvation, and he commands comfort to attend his people, for 
God is my God. I beseech you to enlarge these things in your own medi- 
tations, and do not disquiet yourselves, but believe in God for these things, 
aud for your own happiness in heaven, and cast yourselves upon Christ for 
the pardon of sins in the first place; and then, ' trust in God,' and nothing 
in all the world that comes between you and heaven but God will remove 
it, and bring you safe thither ; but, in this case, many doubts arise : 
1. For perseverance. 

Obj. I may fall away for time to come. 

Ans. I answer, That God, that hath begun this good work in me, will 
finish it in his due time, Philip, i. 6. 

Obj. Ay, but I am changeable. 

Ans. It is true, but God is unchangeable ; thou mayest be ofi' and on, but 
God is not so, for the ground of his love is always alike. Therefore fear 
nothing for the present nor for the time to come. 

Obj. Oh but I have a great charge, and these are hard and evil times. 

Ans. God is thy God, and the God of thy seed, therefore labour to make 
this sure, that God is thy God, and in thus doing, thou providest for thy- 
self and thy posterity ; and when thou art dead and gone, then the living 
Father will be a God toothy posterity and children. Therefore I beseech 
you trust in God, wait upon him, and fear not the want of necessaries in 
this life. What foolish children are we, that think God will give us heaven 
when this life is gone, and yet we fear he will not give us such things as 
shall maintain this life, while we are here employed in his service ! ' The 
heathen seek after all these things,' saith our Saviour, Mat. vi. 32; but 
' it is your Father's pleasure to give you a kingdom,' Luke xii. 32. 

Exhortation. Well, therefore, for provision and protection both in life 

and death, trust in God for all, and all shall be well with us ; then wait 

upon God. I beseech you make one thing sure, that is, make God to be 

our God, by trusting in him, and walking worthy of him. And this one 

* That is, are at ' the height of prosperity.' Cf. Glossary, sub voce. — G. 

64 discouragement's recovery. 

care will free you of all other cares. This one study is better than all other 
studies ; for if we can make God our God, then we make all other things 
ours also. This requires more than ordinary of a Christian, to walk worthy 
of the Lord : * Two cannot walk together if they be not agreed,' saith Solo- 
mon,* therefore this requires great mortification of soul, and much holiness, 
to walk with God. This world knows not what this is, to walk with God in 
the ways of heaven, where there is nothing but holiness. Therefore we must 
exercise our communion with God, by praying to him, and by hearing of 
him, and thinking upon his word and presence, and abstaining from all 
filthiness of the flesh and spirit. We have an holy God, therefore we must 
labour for a good measure of holiness, if we will maintain communion with 
God. This should enforce us thus to stand for God and his truth, because 
he is our God. It is strange to see how men do not walk this way. They 
will part with anything, or do anything for their lust, but yet they will not 
endure to part with anything for God, and for the comfort of their souls. 
Well ! Christ stood for us unto the death, and gained us life, when it could 
not be had otherwise ; and are we too good to stand for a good cause ; nay, 
to die for the maintenance of God's cause ? What ! shall not we stand for 
God ? Yes ; for he is an ' hiding-place ' to us ; and if death come to us 
for this cause, he is life to us, and we have a being for ever in his love. 

* It is Amos (iii. 3j, not Solomon, who says this. — G. 


{a) P. 53. ' The word in the original shews it is the nature of sorrow,' &c. More 
exactly the rendering is, ' Why wilt thou cast down,' &c., = dejection, self-rebuked. 
(b) P. 61. ' Salvation.' See Note /, Vol. I. p. 294. ' G. 





' The Saint's Happiness' forms one of the four ' Sermons' appended to ' The Saint's 
Comforts,' concerning which see Note, Vol. VI. page 160. Its title-page is given 
below.* Each of the four Sermons has separate pagination, but they do not appear 
to have been issued separately. Gr. 

* THE 

Shewing mans Happi- 

nesse is in Communion 

with God. 

"With the meanes, and trialls 

of our Communion with God, 

being the substance of 

divers Sermons. 

By that Faithfull and Reve- 
rend Divine, E. Sibbes, D.D. 
and sometime Preacher to the Ho- 
norable Societie of 

Printed at London, by Tho. Cotes, and are 
to be sold by Peter Cole. 1637. 


But it is good for me to draw near to God. — Ps. LXXIII. 28. 

This psalm is a psalm of Asaph, or of David, commended to Asaph, who 
was a seer and a singer. It represents one in a conflict afterward recovered, 
and in a triumphant conclusion. It begins abruptly, as if he had gained 
this truth : Say flesh and Satan what they can, yet this I am resolved of, 
I find God is yet good to Israel. Then he discovers what was the cause 
of this conflict. It was his weakness and doubt of God's promises in 
ver. 13, occasioned from the great prosperity that the wicked enjoyed, 
described from the 2d verse to the 13th. Then he sets down his recovery 
in the 17th verse. He went into the sanctuary, and saw what God meant 
to do with them at last. Then follows the accomphshment of the victory 
in the 23d verse. I am continually with thee. Thou hast holden me up. 
Thou wilt guide me now and bring me to glory. Therefore there is none 
in heaven but thee. Though nature may be surprised, yet God is my 
help ; and for the wicked, they shall perish ; nay, thou hast destroyed 
them. Therefore ' it is good for me to draw nigh to God.' 

Now from that which hath been laid open we may observe, 

Doct. First, That God's dearest children are exercised with sharp conflicts 
in the faith of principles, yea, of God's providence. This should comfort 
such as God sufiers to cast forth mire and dirt of incredulity. It is the 
common case of God's dearest children, yea, of the prophets of God, David, 
Jeremiah, and Habakkuk, and therefore we ought not to be dejected too 
much ; and the rather because, — which also we may note in the second 
place, — 

Doct. [Second,] God's children, though they be thus low, yet they shall recover, 
and after recovery comes a triumph. They may begin to slip a little, but still 
God's hand is under them, and his goodness ever lower than they can fall ; 
and this should teach us to discern of our estates aright, and to expect 
such conflicts, yet to know that still God's Spirit will not be wanting to 
check and repress such thoughts in the fittest time. Contrarily it is a 
principle to wicked men to doubt of God's providence, and therefore they 
sufi'er such temptations to rule in them. 

In the next place observe, 
'*' Doct. [Third,] The way for a Christian to recover his ground in time of temp- 
tation, is for him to enter into God's sanctuary, and not to give liberty to his 

68 THE saint's happiness. 

thoughts to range in, considering the present estate that he is in ; but look 
to former experiences, in himself, in others ; see the promises and apply 
them ; it shall go well with the righteous, but woe to the wicked, it shall 
not go well with them. This is to go into the sanctuary ; and happy man 
thou art, and in high favour, whom God admitteth so near to him. The 
world will tell thee of corn, and wine, and oil, and how great and glorious 
men are here ; but the sanctuary will shew thee they are set in slippery 
places. Carnal reason will tell thee God ha«h left the earth ; he sees not, 
he governs not, all are out of order. But the sanctuary will shew thee all 
things are beautiful in their time, Eccles. iii. 11. Mark the end of the 
righteous, Ps. xxxiii. 37. See Joseph, once a prisoner, after lord of Egypt ; 
Lazarus, once contemned and despised, after in Abraham's bosom ; Christ 
himself, once a rebuke and scorn of all on the cross, but now triumphing 
on * the right hand of God, far above all principalities and power,' Eph. 
i. 21. All God's ways are mercy and truth, though we seem never so 
much forsaken for the present. Again, from David's observing the state 
of wicked men, — it is said, he saw the prosperity of wicked men, — we may 

Doct. [Fourth,] Whether it he the eye of faith or the eye of sense, all serveth'to 
bring us nearer to God. God represents to the outward view of his children 
the example of his justice on others, to draw his children nearer home ; and 
it is one main reason why God suffers variety of conditions in men, that his 
children may gain experience from seeing their behaviour and by convers- 
ing with them. 

Last of all, from the connection of this text with the former words, 

Doct. [Fifth,] That the course of the children of God is a course contrary to 
the stream of the world. ' They withdraw away from thee, and shall perish,' 
saith the prophet, but ' it is good for me to draw near ;' as if he had said, 
Let others take what course they will, it matters not much, I will look to 
myself, ' it is good for me to draw near to God ;' and the reason is. 

Reason 1. Because they are guided by the Sjyirit of God, which is contrary to 
the world, and the Spirit teacheth them to see, not after the opinions of the 
world that is their best friend, but God is my best friend, that will never 
forsake me. ' Many walk that are enemies to the cross of Christ, but our 
conversation is in heaven,' Philip, iii. 18. And then a Christian hath 
experience of the ways of God, and by it he is every day settled in them ; 
by it he sees what the world works in others, and how God is opposite to 
them, and thereby he is made more zealous ; as in winter time the body 
is more hot within than in summer. And those that are well grounded 
grow more strong by opposition ; and however they may sometimes stagger, 
yet their motion is constant. 

Use. If we will know our estates, examine after what rule we lead our 
life, and tvhat jjrinciples we follow. If outward weights of the love of the 
world, self-love, or the like do move us, as clocks that go no longer than the 
weights hang on them, this shews that we are but actors of the life of 
a Christian, and that we are not naturally moved, that our nature is not 
changed, and that we are not made ' partakers of the divine nature,' 
2 Peter i. 4 ; for then our motion would come from above : ' My life and 
flesh may fail, but thou. Lord, wilt never fail,' Ps. xl. 12. Therefore it is 
good for me to draw near to thee ; which words proceeding from an 
experimental trial of David, of the goodness and happiness of this near- 
ness to God, afford us this consideration, 



Doct. [Sixth,] That God's Spirit enahleth his children by experience to justify 
wisdom. He suffers his children to meet with oppositions, that they may see 
they stand by an almighty power above their own, and above the power of 
their enemies. Nihil tarn certnm est, quam quod post dubium cerium est, and 
therefore thoset'that have felt the bitterness of their sins know how bitter 
it is ; and those that have been overcome in temptations know their nature 
is weak, and those that have felt the unconstancy of the world, and the 
vanity of it, know it is a bitter thing to be far from God, and therefore 
they resolve, Hosea ii. 7, ' I will go to my first husband ; for then it was 
better with me than now ;' and as the prodigal, ' There is meat enough in 
my father's house, why then do I perish here with hunger' ? Lukexv. 17; 
and therefore, if we will ever think to stand out resolutely in our courses 
against trials, we must labour for experience, and diligently observe God's 
dealings. It is experience that breedeth patience and hope. Experience 
of a truth seals a truth with a prohatum est. And without it, the best and 
sti-ongest judgments will in time of trial be" ready to be jostled out of the 
maintenance thereof, and great professors will be ashamed of their good 

But to come to the particulars. * It is good ; ' that is, it puts in 
us a blessed quality and disposition. It makes a man to be like God 
himself; and, secondly, ' it is good,' that is, it is comfortable ; for it is 
the happiness of the creature to be near the Creator ; it is beneficial and 

' To draw near.' How can a man but be near to God, seeing he filleth 
heaven and earth : ' Whither shall I go from thy presence ? ' Ps. cxxxix. 7. 
He is present always in power and providence in all places, but graciously 
present with some by his Spirit, supporting, comforting, strengthening the 
heart of a good man. As the soul is said to be tola in toto, in several 
parts by several faculties, so God, present he is to all, but in a diverse 
manner. Now we are said to be near to God in divers degrees : first, 
when our under standing is enlightened ; intellectus est veritatis sponsa ; and so 
the young man speaking discreetly in things concerning God, is said not to 
be far from the kingdom of God, Mark xii. 34. Secondly, in minding ; 
when God is present to our minds, so as the soul is said to be present to 
that which it mindeth ; contrarily it is said of the wicked, that ' God is not 
in all their thoughts,' Ps. x. 4. Thirdly, when the will upon the discovery of 
the understanding conies to choose the better part, and is drawn from that choice 
to cleave to him, as it was said of Jonathan's heart, ' it was knit to David,' 
1 Sam. xviii. 1. Fourthly, when our whole affections are carried to God, 
loving him as the chief good. Love is the first-born affection. That 
breeds desire of communion with God. Thence comes joy in him, so 
as the soul pants after God, ' as the hart after the water springs,' Ps. xlii. 1. 
Fifthly, and especially, ivhen the soul is touched with the Spirit of God work- 
ing faith, stirring up dependence, confidence, and trust on God. Hence 
ariseth sweet communion. The soul is never at rest till it rests on him. 
Then it is afraid to break with him or to displease him. But it groweth 
zealous and resolute, and hot in love, stiff in good cases ; resolute against 
his enemies. And yet this is not all, for God will have also the outward 
man, so as the whole man must present itself before God in word, in 
sacraments ; speak of him and to him with reverence, and yet with strength 
of afi'ection mounting up in prayer, as in a fiery chariot; hear him speak to 
us ; consulting with his oracles ; fetching comforts against distresses, direc- 
tions against maladies. Sixthly, and especially, we draw near to him when we 



praise him ; for this is the work of the souls departed, and of the angels in 
heaven, that are continually near unto him. And thus much for the 
opening of the words. The prophet here saith, ' It is good for me.' How 
came he to know this ? Why, he had found it by experience, and by it he 
was thoroughly convinced of it ; so 

Doct. [Seventh,] Sinritual conviction is the ground of practice; for naturally 
the will folio weth the guidance of the understanding; and when it is convicted* 
of the goodness of this or that thing, the will moveth toward it. Now there 
are four things that go to conviction : first, the understanding must be enlight- 
ened to see the truth of the thing, that there is such a thing, and that it is 
no fancy ; secondly, we must know it to be good, as the gospel is called 
the good word of God ; thirdly, that it is good for me ; and lastly, upon 
comparing all these together, it is the best for me of all, though other 
things seem to be good in their kind. A wicked man may be convinced 
that heaven and grace are good things ; but his corrupted affections per- 
suade him it is better to live in pleasure and lust ; and when death 
comes then he may repent, for God is merciful. But a good man pre- 
ferreth drawing near to God above all, and therefore we should labour for 
this conviction of our spirits. For it is not enough to hear, read, discourse, 
pray, but we must get the Spirit to set to his seal to all upon our hearts ; 
and this made Moses in sober balancing of things, choose rather to draw 
near to God and join with his afflicted brethren, than to be in honour in 
Pharaoh's court, to be the son of Pharaoh's daughter, or to enjoy the 
pleasures of sin, * for he had respect to the reward,' Heb. xi. 25. He was 
convinced that there was more to be gotten with them than amongst the 
Egyptians. Thus Abraham came to forsake his country, and the disciples 
to forsake all and follow Christ. And undoubtedly the ground of all pro- 
faneness is from atheism that is within. Would the swearer trample upon 
the name of God, if he did believe and were convinced that he should not 
be guiltless ? Would the filthy person come near strange flesh, if he were 
persuaded that God would judge ? Would any wicked man change an 
eternal joy for a minute's pleasure, if he did believe the unrighteous should 
not inherit the kingdom of God ? Nay, the best have a remainder of this 
corruption of atheism. David : ' So foolish was I, and a beast,' Ps. Ixsiii. 22. 
From hence come all sin against knowledge and conscience in men, whereof 
David complains : ' Keep me, that presumptuous sins prevail not over me, 
or get not dominion over me,' Ps. xix. 13. And for remedy against this 
vile corruption, there is no way but the immediate help of the Holy Spirit; 
and therefore, John xvi. 9, it is said that the Spirit, when it comes, ' shall 
convince the world of sin ; ' that is, it shall so manifest sin to be in the 
whole world, because of the general unbelief, as they shall see no remedy 
but in Christ ; and therefore we should beforehand search out the crafty 
allurements to sin, that we may be provided to give them an answer when 
they set upon us, lest we be suddenly overcome, and labour to see the 
excellency of the things that are freely given us of God, which amongst 
other titles are called a feast, ' a feast of fat things,' Isa. xxv. 6. Now if 
we will not feast with him, how do we ever think to suffer with him if he 
should call us thereto ? * It is good.' How is it good ? Both in quality 
and condition ; for while we are here in this world we are strangers, and 
in an estate of imperfection as it were. Paul saith, while he was present 
in the body he was absent from the Lord ; and the more near perfection 
we are, the more near must we be to the ground of all perfection, and 
* Tliat is, 'convinced.' — G. 



this is only in God. For, first, he is goodness itself. He hath the beauty 
of all, the strength of all, the goodness of all, originally in himself. He is 
the gathering together of all excellency and goodness. Secondly, he is 
the universal good. He is good to all. What all hath that is good, cometh 
from him. Of creatures, some have beauty, others riches, others have 
honours, but God hath all together. Thirdly, he is the all-sufficient and satis- 
factory good. The goodness of no creature can give full content ; for the 
soul of man is capable of more than all created goodness together can 
satisfy. Only it is filled with God's likeness, and satisfied with communion 
with him. The best thing here to satisfy the soul, as Solomon witnesseth, 
is knowledge ; and yet it contents not the heart of man : sine Deo omnis 
copia estegestas, [saith] Bernard.* God alone fiUeth every corner of the 
soul in him. We are swallowed up with 'joy unspeakable,' and ' peace 
that passeth understanding.' ' Eye cannot see it, ear cannot hear it, heart 
of man cannot conceive those things which even in this life are but beams 
of his brightness,' 1 Cor. ii. 9. Fourthly, God is a goodness that is pro- 
p)ortionaUe and fitting to our soids, which is the best part in a man ; and 
that which we draw near unto must communicate some loveliness, for that 
moves us to draw near to it. Now God is a Spirit fit to converse with our 
spirits ; and he is love, and can answer the love and drawing near of our 
spirits with love and drawing near to us again. The things of this world 
cannot love us so as to give us content, or to help us in the day of wrath. 
Fifthly, nothing can make us happy hut drawing near to God. If there were 
nothing in the world better than man, then man would be content with him- 
self; but by nature it is evident man seeth a better happiness than is in 
himself, and therefore he seeketh for it out of himself. And as Solomon 
tried all things, and found no happiness but in the fear of God, so man 
cannot rest in any outward content till he comes to God as the Creator of 
all happiness, and the spring-head from whence the soul had its original ; 
and therefore, 1 John i. 3, * All the gospel is to this end, that we may have 
fellowship with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ ;' and 1 Pet. iii. 18, 
' Christ's sufferings [were] to this end, that being dead in flesh, but quickened 
in the spirit, he might bring us again to God,' Eph. i. 10, and 22, ' That he 
might gather all into one head.' By sin we were scattered from God, from 
angels, and from our ourselves ; but now by Christ we are made one, with 
one another, and with the holy angels, one with God our chief good. 

For use hereof, it should teach us to labour to attain to this estate of being 
spiritually convinced of the goodness of God, that we may by experience say, 
' It is good for me to draw near to God,' for God will not esteem of us accord- 
ing to our knowledge, but as our affections are, and therefore the wicked 
man he calls a worldling, because the world fiUeth him, let his knowledge be 
never so great. And the church in the Eevelation is called heaven, because 
their aflfections and minds are that way, xxi. 1 ; and again, the more we 
are convinced of God's goodness, the better we are ; for God's goodness, 
tasted and felt by the soul, doth ennoble it, as a pearl set in a gold ring 
maketh it the more rich and precious. But to come to the estate that is 
so commended to us, it is described to us by drawing near unto God, so 
as we may take this for a received ground, that 

Doct. [Eighth,] Mans happiness is in communion with God. Before the fall 

of man, there was a familiar conversation with God ; but by the sin of our 

first parents we lost this great happiness, and now we are strangers, and 

as contrary to God as light is contrary to darkness, and hell to heaven ; 

* A frequent sentiment in his Letters. — G. 

72 THE saint's happiness. 

he holy, we impure ; he full of knowledge, we stark fools ; and instead of 
delighting in him, we now tremble at his presence, and are afraid of such 
creatures as approach nigh to him, trembling at the presence of angels, 
nay, afraid of a holy man. ' What have I to do with thee, thou man of 
God? art thou come to call my sins to remembrance?' 1 Kings xvii. 18. 
And therefore we fly the company of good men, because their carriage and 
course of life do upbraid us ; and hence it is that at the least apprehension 
of God's displeasure, wicked men do quake. The heathen emperor trembled 
at a thunder clap.* But God, in his infinite mercy andjgoodness, left us 
not, but entertaining a purpose to choose some to draw near unto him ; 
and to this end he hath found out a way for man and him to meet, but no 
way for the angels ; and the foundation of this union is in Christ, in whom 
he reconciled the world to himself; for he being God, became man, so to 
draw man back again unto God ; and thus, like Jacob's ladder, one end of 
it is in heaven, the other on earth. The angels ascending and descending 
shew a sweet intercourse between God and man, now reconciled together, 
so as Christ is now ' a living way ' for ever, being ' the way, the truth, and 
the life.' He is a way far more near and sure than we had in Adam ; for in 
him God was in man, but now man subsisteth in God, so as our nature is 
now strengthened by him, who also hath enriched it and advanced it : and 
what he hath wrought in his own human nature, he by little and little will 
work in all his mystical members ; so being once far off, we are now made 
near, and this he did principally by his death, for reconciliation is made by 
his blood. Col. i. 20 ; and thus, by the admirable mystery of his deep wis- 
dom, he hath found a means to make the seeming opposite attributes of 
justice and mercy to kiss each other, so as we are saved, and yet his 
infinite justice hath full content. For how could his hatred of sin appear 
more gloriously than in punishing it upon his own only beloved Son ? And 
therefore worthily he is called ' our peace ; ' for he is that great peace- 
maker offering himself up, and us in him, ' as a sweet-smelling sacrifice, 
acceptable to God,' Philip, iv. 8, being then thus brought near to God, to 
keep and maintain this nearness, so as nothing may separate us again. He 
hath put into us his own Spirit, so as we are one spirit with Christ ; and 
by that Spirit he worketh in us and by us by that Spirit. We hear, read, 
pray, and as by the soul in us our bodies do live, breathe, and move, and 
the like, so he maketh his Spirit to move in us to a holy conversation and 
a heavenly life, being thus made ' partakers of the divine nature,' 2 Peter 
i. 4 ; and this sanctifies us to a holy communion with God ; and there- 
fore the apostle prays, 2 Cor. xiii. 14, ' The grace of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, 
be with them ; ' that is, for a fuller manifestation of the love of God in 
sending Christ, the grace of Christ in coming to us, and the communion of 
the Holy Spirit, because by it we are made to live a holy life, and to com- 
municate with God ; and thus the three persons in Trinity conspire together 
in reducing man back again to be more near to God. 

Use 1. Now, for use of this, it should teach us hoiv to think on God, not 
as all justice and power, hating sin and sinners, but as a Father, now lay- 
ing aside terrible things that may scare us from drawing nigh to him, and 
as a God, stooping down to our human nature, to take both it and our 
miserable condition upon himself, and see our nature not only suffering 
with Christ, but rising, nay, now in heaven united to God ; and this will 
feed the soul with inestimable comfort. 

* Thia is told of Nero.— G. 

THE saint's happiness. 73 

Use 2. Secondly, Labour to be more near to him, by the mo7-e full partici- 
pation of his Spirit. Those that have not Christ's Spirit are none of his. 
By it we in Christ have access to God ; and therefore the more spiritual 
we are, the nearer access we have to the secrets of God. In our first 
estate, we are altogether flesh, and have no spirit; in our present estate of 
grace, we are partly flesh and partly spirit; in our third estate in heaven, 
we shall be all spiritual ; yea, our bodies shall be spiritual, 1 Cor. xv. 44. 
It is sown natural, but it shall be raised spiritual, and shall be obedient to 
our souls in all things, and our souls wholly possessed and led by the 
Spirit of God, so as then God shall be all in all with us ; and for means 

First, Labour to he conversaiit in spiritual means, as in hearing of the 
word, receiving of the sacraments. God annexe th his Spirit to his own 
ordinances ; and thence it is that in the communion with God in the 
ordinances, men's apprehensions are so enlarged as they are many times 
spiritually sick, and do long after the blessed enjoying of God's presence 
in heaven. But take heed how we come, think what we have to do, and 
with whom. Come not without the garment of Christ ; and it is no matter 
how beggarly we are, this food is not appointed for angels, but for men. 
And come with an humble heart, as Elizabeth. Who am I, that (not the 
mother of my Lord) God himself from heaven should come to me ! ' 
Luke i. 43. 

Secondly, Converse with those that draw near unto him. God is present 
where two or three are assembled in his name, warming their hearts with 
love and afiection, as it is said of the two disciples going to Emmaus, ' Did 
not our hearts burn within us while we walked in the way, and conferred 
of the sayings?' &c., Luke xxiv. 32. Oh, it is a notable sign of a spiritual 
heart to seek spiritual company ; for when their hearts join together, they 
warm one another, and are hereby guarded from temptations ; nay, the 
wicked themselves in God's company will be restrained. Saul, a wicked 
man, amongst the prophets will prophesy now, 1 Sam. x. 12. If by good 
company carnal men themselves do in a manner draw near to God, how 
acceptable ought this to be to us, and how powerful in us. 

Thirdly, And especially, be much in prayer ; for this is not only a main 
part of this duty of drawing near to God, but it is a great help thereunto. 
God is near to all that call upon him ; for then are those most near to 
God when their understandings, afiections, desires, trust, hope, faith, are 
busied about God ; and therefore as Moses's face did shine with being in 
the presence of God, so those that are conversant in this duty of prayer 
have a lustre cast upon their souls, and their minds brought into a hea- 
venly temper, and made fit for anything that is divine. I could wish that 
men would be more in public prayer, and that they would not forget 
private prayer, if ever they intend the comfort of their souls, not only 
hereafter, but even during this present life. For every day's necessities 
and dangers in the midst of many enemies, the devil, flesh, and world, ill 
company, and strong corruptions, should invite us to cast ourselves into the 
protection of an almighty Saviour. There is not a minute of time in all 
our life but we must either be near God or we are undone. 

Fourthly, Observe the first motions of sin in our hearts, that may 'grieve 
the Spirit of God ' in the least manner, and check them at the first. Give 
no slumber to thine eyes, then, nor the reins to thy desires: 'Thou, 
man of God, fly the lusts of youth,' 2 Tim. ii. 22. The best things in us, 
if they come from nature in us, God abhors. Rebuke therefore the first 



motions, before they come to delight or action. God abhorreth one that 
gives liberty to his thoughts, more than one that falleth into a grievous 
sin now and then, through strength of temptation; and such shall find 
comfort sooner of the pardon of their sins, for they cannot but see their 
offences to be heinous, and so have ground of abasement in themselves ; 
but the other, thinking of the smallness of their sins, or at least that God 
is not much offended with thoughts, do fill themselves with contemplative 
wickedness, and chase away the Spirit of God, that cannot endure an un- 
clean heart. We must therefore keep ourselves pure and unspotted of 
this present world, * for the pure in heart shall see God,' Mat. v. 8 ; and 
' without holiness none shall ever see him,' Heb. xii. 14. The least sin in 
thought, if it be entertained, it eats out the strength of the soul, that it 
can receive no good from God, nor close with him, so as it performeth all 
duties deadly and hollowly: Ps. Ixvi. 18, ' If I regard iniquity in my heart, 
the Lord will not hear my prayer;' and hence it is that so little good is 
wrought in the ordinances of God. Men bring their lusts along with 
them. They neither know the sweetness of the presence of God's Spirit, 
neither do they desire it. It is a true rule that every sin hath intrinse- 
cally in it some punishment ; but it is not the punishment that is the 
proper venom or poison of sin, but this, that it hinders the Spirit of God 
from us, and keeps us from him, and unfits us for life or for death. But 
this inward divorce from God's Spirit above all it is the most bitter stab 
that can befall any one that ever tasted of the sweetness of Christian pro- 
fession. Now, for the better keeping of our thoughts, we should labour 
to watch against our outward senses, that by them thoughts be not darted 
into us. ' The eyes of the fool are in the corners of the world,' Prov. 
xvii. 24, saith the wise man; and therefore let men profess what they 
will, when they go to lewd company and filthy places, where corruptions 
are shot into them by all their senses, they neither can take delight to 
draw near to God, nor can God take any delight to draw near to them. 
Dinah, that will be straying abroad, comes home with shame; and that 
soul that either straggles after temptations, or suffereth temptations to 
enter into it uncontrolledly, both ways doth grieve God, and that good 
Spirit that should lead us to him. As for such as live in gross 
sins, as lying, blaspheming, swearing, drunkenness, adultery, or the like, 
let them never think of drawing near to God. They must first be civilised 
before they can appear to be religious ; and they contrarily proclaim to the 
whole world that they say to God, ' Depart from us, for we will none of 
thy ways,' Job xxi. 14; so as God draws away from them, and they draw 
away from him. 

Fifthly, Be in God's nriUcs and ordinances in a course of doing good, in 
our Christian or civil calling, sanctified by prayer and a holy dependence 
upon God for strength, wisdom, and success. Go not out of those ways 
wherein he gives his angels charge of our persons and actions, and what- 
ever we do. Labour to do it with perfection, as our Father in heaven is 

Sixthly, Observe God's dealings with the church, both formerly and now 
in these days, and how he dealeth and hath formerly dealt with ourselves, 
that from experience of his faithfulness to us we may gather confidence to 
approach nigh him at any occasion. God's works and words do answer 
one another: * Hath he said, and shall he not do it ?' He is always good 
to Israel. Observe therefore how all things work together for thy parti- 
cular drawing nigh unto him ; for if all do work together for thy good, 

THK saint's happiness. 75 

then it must be of necessity for thy drawing near to God, and drawing 
thee away from this present world; and observe how thy soul answereth 
the purpose of God, how thy affections are bent, and so how all comes out 
for thy benefit at last. See God in afflictions embittering ill courses in 
thee; in thy success in thy affairs, encouraging thee; and thus w^alk with 
God. But evermore think of him as of a Father in covenant with thee. 

Seventhly, Labour to maintabi humility, having evermore a sense of thy 
unworthiness, and wants, and continual dependence on God, and thus 
humble thyself to walk with him. Hence the saints in God's presence 
call themselves 'dust and ashes,' as Abraham, Gen. xviii. 27; 'and less 
than the least of God's mercies,' as Jacob, Gen. xxxii. 10. God is ' a 
consuming fire,' Heb. xii. 29, and will be sanctified in all that come nigh 
unto him. He will give grace to the humble, but behokleth the proud afar 
olf, as they look on others : James iv. 8, ' Draw near to the Lord, and he 
will draw near to you.' Humble yourselves under ' the mighty hand of 
God,' and he will lift you up. He that lifteth himself up, maketh himself 
a god; and God will endure no co-rivals. Contrarily, he dwelleth in the 
heart of the humble, Isa. Ixvi. 2 ; and in the Psalms, ' An humble and a 
contrite heart, God, thou wilt not despise.' But pride he abhorreth as 
an abomination of desolation. 

Eighthly, Labour for sincerity in all our actions. Whatever we do to 
God or man, do it with a single eye, resolute to please God. Let men 
say what they will, ' a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways,' 
James i. 8 ; and what is a double-minded man, but one that hath one eye 
on God, another on a by-respect? If religion fail him, he will have favour 
of men, or wealth, yet would fain have both, for credit sake. Such are 
gross temporisers ; and in time, of temporisers [it] will appear that their 
religion serves but for a cloak to their vile hypocrisy. This God loathes, 
and will ' spue them out,' Rev. iii. IG. 

Ninthly, Observe thejirst motions of GocVs Spirit; and give diligent heed 
to them, for by these God^knocks for entrance into the heart: Eev. iii. 20, 
' Behold, I stand at the door and knock.' God is near when he knocks, 
when he putteth inclinations into the heart, and sharpeneth them with 
afflictions. If, then, we stop our ears, we may say ' the kingdom of God 
was near unto us;' but if he once ceaseth knocking, our mouths shall for 
ever be stopped; and for this reason it is that so many live daily under 
the means, and yet live in vile courses, as if God had determined their 
doom. They resisted the first motions, and close with their lusts, and so 
God pronounceth a curse : ' Make this people's heart fat,' Isa. vi. 10. 
On the contrary, those that will open to God while he continues knocking, 
God will come in and make an everlasting tabernacle in them, and sup with 
them. Rev. iii. 20. 

Lastly, Take up dally controversies that do arise in us, through the incon- 
stancy of our decelvable hearts. Repentance must be every day's work, 
renewing our covenant, especially every morning and evening ; repair 
breaches by confession ; and considering the crossness of our hearts, 
commit them to God by prayer : ' Knit my heart to thee, that I may fear 
thy name,' Ps. Ixxxvi. 11. 

A third use of this doctrine is of instruction ; and, first, to teach us that 
a Christian that thus draweth near to God is the wisest man. He hath 
God's word, reason, and experience to justify his course. He is the 
wisest man that is wise for himself. The Christian feels it and knows it, 
and can justify himself, 2 Tim. i. 12. Paul suffered, and was not ashamed. 

76 THE saint's happiness. 

Why ? ' I know,' saith he, * whom I have believed.' Let men scorn, I 
pass* not for man's censure. They shall never scorn me out of my reli- 
gion; and for them, the Scripture, that can best judge, calls those wicked 
men fools ; for they refuse God, who is the chiefest good, and seek for con- 
tent where none is to be found. Contrarily, if we do affect honour, or 
riches, or pleasure, God is so gracious as in religion he gives us abundance 
of these. In God is all fulness ; in Christ are unsearchable riches ; in 
God everlasting strength, ' and his favour is better than the life itself,' Ps. 
Ixiii. 3. Ahithophel was wise, but it was to hang himself; Saul a mighty 
man, but to shed his own blood; Haman's honour ended in shame. 

Secondly, Hence we may learn how to justify zeal m relit/ion. If to be 
near God be good, then the nearer him the better; if religion be good, 
then the more the better; if holiness be good, then the more the better; 
it is best to excel in the best things. Who was the best man but Christ, 
and why ? He was nearest the fountain. And who are next but the 
angels, and why? Because they are always in God's presence. And who 
next but those that are nearest to Christ. If we could get angelical holi- 
ness, were it not commendable ? And therefore it should shame us to be 
backward, and cold, and to have so little zeal, as to be ashamed of good- 
ness, as most are. 

Thirdly, This should teach us that a man must not break with God for 
any creature's sake whatever. It is good to lose all for God. Why ? 
Because we have riches in him, liberty in him, all in him. A man may 
be a king on earth, and yet a prisoner in himself; and if we lose any- 
thing, though it be our own life, for God, we shall save it. If we be 
swallowed up of outward misery, the Spirit of God, that * searcheth the 
deep things of God,' 1 Cor. ii. 10, passes and repasses, and puts a relish 
into us of the ' unsearchable riches of Christ,' Eph. iii. 8. ' Taste and 
see how good God is,' Ps. xxxiv. 8. ' How excellent is thy loving- 
kindness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee,' Ps. xxxvi. 7. 
' How precious are thy thoughts to me, Lord,' Ps. xxxix. 17. ' Thou 
hast the words of everlasting life, whither then shall I go ? ' said Peter, 
when he felt but a spark of the divine power, John vi. 68. 

A further use of this doctrine shall be an use of trial, to know ivhether 
we draw near to God or not. 

First, therefore, where this is, there will be a farther desire of increase of 
communion with God. The soul will not rest in measure, Exod. xxxiii. 
11, seq. Moses had divers entertainments of God: he had seen him in 
' the bush,' and in mount Sinai, and many other times; but not contented 
herewith, he would needs see God's face. And thus Abraham, he gathers 
upon God still more and more ground in his prayers : ' What if fifty, 
what if forty, what if twenty, what if ten righteous be found there ? ' saith 
he. Gen. xviii. 24, seq. And Jacob, how often was he blessed whom Isaac 
blessed, when he was to go into Paran ! when he was there at his retui-n ; 
and yet when he comes to wrestle with the angel, ' I will not let thee go 
till thou bless me,' Gen. xxxii. 26. And the reason is, because as God is 
a fountain never to be drawn dry, so is man an emptiness never filled, but 
our desires increase still till we arrive in heaven ; and therefore the more 
we work, and the more we pray, and the more good we do, the more do our 
desires increase in doing good. 

Secondly, This will appear in abasing or humbling ourselves, as it was 
with Abraham. The more near God is, the more humbly he falls on his 
* That is, ' pause,* = care for. — G. 

THE saint's happiness. 77 

face, and confessetli he is but ' dust and ashes.' The angels, in token of 
reverence, do cover their faces, ' being in the presence of God.' And it 
is an universal note, that all such as draw near to God, they are humble 
and reverent in holy duties ; and therefore proud persons have no com- 
munion with God at all. 

Thirdly, The nearer u-e are to God, the more we admire heavenly things ; 
and count all others ' dross and dung,' as St Paul, Philip, iii. 8. When 
the sun riseth, the stars they vanish ; and those that do not admire the 
joy, peace, and happiness of a Christian, are unacquainted with drawing 
near to God. 

Fourthly, When we have a sense and sight of sin, then ive may truly he 
said to 'draw near,' and to be near to God; for by his light are our eyes 
enlightened, and we are quickened by his heat and love; and hence we 
come to see little sins great sins, and are afraid of the beginnings of sin : 
'Lord, purge me from my secret sins; create in me a new heart; oh let 
the thoughts of my heart be always acceptable in thy sight,' Ps. xix. 12. 
And those that make no scruple of worldly affairs on the Lord's day, of 
light, small oaths, as they call them, or of corrupt discourse, they neither 
are nor can draw near to God. 

Fifthly, The nearer we draw to God, the more is our rest. ' Come unto 
me, all you that are weary and heavy laden, and you shall find rest unto 
your souls,' Mat. xi. 28. Ps. xvi. 4, ' The sorrows of those that worship 
another god shall be multiplied,' and therefore they may well maintain 
doubting. And therefore such, if they be in their right minds, never end 
their days comfortably. 

Sixthly, In all distresses, those that draw near to God uillfly to him with 
confidence; but a guilty conscience is afraid of God, as of a creditor that 
oweth him punishment, or that intendeth to cast him into perpetual prison. 
And as a child will in all his wrongs go and complain to his father, Rom. 
V. 2, seq., so if we have the spirit of sons we have access to God, and peace 
with God, and can come boldly to the throne of grace, to find help in him 
at need. 

Seventhly, He that is near to God is neither afraid of God nor of any 
creature, for God and he are in good terms. In the midst of thundering 
and lightning, Moses hath heart to go near, when the Israelites fly, and 
stand afar ofi': Ps. xxvii. 1, ' The Lord is the strength of my salvation, of 
whom shall I be afraid?' Ps. cxii. 7, ' He that feareth the Lord will not 
be afraid of evil tidings ;' but, contrarily, on the wicked there are fears, 
and snares, and pits. They fear where no cause of fear is ; and when God 
revealeth his terror, indeed then, Isa. xxxiii. 14, ' the sinners in Sion are 
afraid, and the hypocrites that make show of holiness are surprised with fear- 
fulness ; who amongst us shall dwell with devouring fire, and who amongst 
us shall dwell with everlasting burnings ? ' 

Eighthly, The nearer we are to God, the 7nore in love tve will he with spiri- 
tual exercises ; the more near to God, the more in love with all means to 
draw nigh to him; as of books, sermons, good company. My delight 
'is in the excellent of the earth,' Ps. xvi. 3; 'Oh how I love thy law,' 
Ps. cxix. 97 ; ' How beautiful are thy dwelling-places, Lord of hosts,' 
Ps. Ixxxiv. 1. 

Ninthly, He that is near God is so warmed ivith love of him, so that he 
will stand against ojiposition, and that out of experience — ' He that delivered 
me out of the paw of the bear, will deliver me from the hands of this un- 
circumcised Philistine,' 1 Sam. xvii. 37, — and out of his experience he will 


be encouraged to use tlie ordinances of God. He will pray, because he 
hath found the sweetness of it ; he will be in good company, because ha 
finds it preserves him in a better temper for the service of God ; he will 
hear the word spiritually and plainly laid open to him, because he hath 
found the power of it in renewing and quickening his affections and 
desires ; and those that do not draw nigh to God, do either loathe, or at 
least are indifferent, to days, to companies, to exercises. All are alike to 
them ; and they wonder at the niceness of Christians that take so much 
labour and pains, whenas a man may go to heaven at an easier rate by 
much ; and, on the contrary, Christians do as much wonder at them, that 
they are so careless, whenas 'few are called;' and of those that are called, 
some ' hear the word, but receive it not.' Some receive, ' and in time 
of trial fall off,' Luke viii. 5, so as not the third part of hearers are saved. 
What then now remaineth but that we should be encouraged unto this duty 
of drauing near unto God. We see how Scripture, reason, and experience 
proves that it is a thing necessary and profitable ; and those that are far 
from God shall perish, and those that go a-whoring from him he will 
destroy, as it is in the foregoing verse. Those that are either of a whorish 
judgment, or affections after lust or covetousness, or the like, God will 
curse, for all sin is but adultery, or defiling of the soul with the creature; 
and therefore labour for chaste judgments and afiections ; love him, and 
fear him above all, and this is the whole duty of man ; and use other crea- 
tures in their own place, as creatures should be used. We know not what 
troubles and difficulties we shall meet with ere long, wherein neither friends 
nor all the world can do us any good; and then happy shall we be if, with 
a comfortable heart, we can go to God with David: Ps. xxii. 11, 'Be not 
far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help,' If God be 
then far off from us when trouble is near to us, we may go and cry to 
him; but his answer will be, Prov. i. 31, ' You shall eat the fruit of your 
own way ; you have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my 
reproof.' You would not draw nigh to me; you shall now call and seek 
to me, but now you shall not draw nigh to me, you shall not find me. 
What, then, can our friends do ? What can the whole world then supply 
to us, when sickness comes as * an armed man,' and death as a mighty 
giant, against whom is no resisting ; but will we or nill we, away we must 
be gone ? Then to have a God nigh us, to whom we may go as Peter did 
in the storm, ' Master, save me, I perish,' Mark iv. 36 ; then to have a friend 
in heaven, who can for the present guide us by his counsel, and instruct us 
against Satan's wiles and our deceivable hearts, and be a safe guard to us 
in the fire and in the water, in the dungeon and when we are in the greatest 
depths of misery to outward sense ; though in death, in the shadow of 
death, and in the valley of the shadow of death, yet can send us such 
cheerful remembrances of his love, as the cloud shall be scattered, the 
shadow taken away, and death, an enemy, shall be a friend ; nay, a 
friendly meeting between God and the soul, so as the soul shall triumph 
in death, and shall delight to die, and desire it: 'Lord, now let thy ser- 
vant depart in peace, for,' by the eye of faith, I have * waited for thy sal- 
vation,' Luke ii. 29 ; I say, then will the sweetness of this estate of 
drawing near to God be manifested to us, and then shall we not repent oi' 
any labour or travail spent in our lifetime, in the attaining of such a 




' David's Conclusion ' is one of tlie sermons of tlie ' Beams of Divine Light.' (4to, 
1639. Cf. Vol. V. p. 220.) Its separate title-page is given below.* 






In one Sermon. 

By the late learned, and reverend Divine, 
Richard Sibbs. 
Doctor in Divinitie, Master of Katherine-Hall 
in Cambridge ; and sometimes Prea- 
cher at Grays-Inne. 

leremy 30. 21. 
Who is this that ingageth his heart to approach uri' 
to me, saith the Lord ? 

James 4, 8. 
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. 


Printed by E. P. for Nicholas Bourne 

and Rapha Harford. 

16 39. 


But it is good for me to draw near to God. — Ps. LXXIII. 28. 

This psalm is a psalm of Asaph, or a psalm of David, and committed to 
Asaph the singer, for Asaph was both a seer and a singer. Those psalms 
that David made were committed to Asaph, so it is thought to be a psalm 
of David. • And if not of David, yet of Asaph, that likewise was a singer in 
the house of God {a). 

The psalm represents to us a man in a spiritual conflict, by a discovery 
of the cause of it, and a recovery out of the conflict, with a triumphant 
conclusion afterwards, 

1. He begins abruptly, as a mannewly come out of a conflict: ' Truly God 
is good to Israel ; ' as if he had gained this truth in conflicting with his 
corruptions and Satan, who joins with corruption in opposing. Say the 
flesh what it can, say Satan what he can, say carnal men what they can, 
* yet God is good to Israel.' 

2. After his conflict he sets down the discovery, first of his weakness, 
and then of his doubting of God's providence, and then the cause of it, the 
prosperity of the wicked, and God's contrary dealing with the godly. Then 
he discovers the danger he was come to, ver. 13, ' Verily I have cleansed 
my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency,' &c. 

3. And then the recovery, in ver. 17 : 'I went into the sanctuary, and 
there I understood the end of these men.' The recovery was by going into 
the sanctuary ; not by looking upon the present condition, but upon God's 
intention, what should become of such men ; and there he had satisfaction. 

4. Then his victory and triumph over all: ver. 23, 'Nevertheless I am 
continually with thee.' It was a suggestion of the flesh that thou wast gone 
far from me, by reason of the condition of carnal men that flourish in the 
eye of the world. No : ' Thou art continually with me, and thou boldest 
me by my right hand.' Thou upholdest me, I should fall else. But what, 
would God do so for the time to come ? ' He will guide me by his counsel,' 
while I live here and when I am dead. What will he do for me after ? 
' He will receive me to glory.' Whereupon saith he, * Who have I in 
heaven but thee ? and there is none in earth that I desire besides thee.' 
Therefore, though for the present ' my flesh fail,' yea, and ' my heai-t fail,' 


82 David's conclusion ; or, 

yet God is the ' strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.' We see 
here his victory set down, and he gives a lustre to it, by God's contrary 
dealing with the wicked : * For lo, they that are far from thee shall perish : 
thou hast destroyed all them that go a-whoring from thee.' Now, in the 
words of the text, you have his conclusion upon all this, 'Nevertheless it 
is good for me to draw near to God.' 

This is the conclusion upon the fonner principles. This is, as it were, 
the judgment upon the former demurs. The sum of all comes to this : Let 
all things be weighed and laid together, I am sure this is true, ' it is good 
for me to draw near to God.' So he ends where he began, ' God is good 
to Israel.' Therefore, because God is so good to Israel, 'it is good to 
draw near to God.' So you see in what order the words come. They are 
the words of a man got out of a conflict, after he had entered into the 
sanctuary, and after he had considered the end of wicked men, at whose 
prosperity he was troubled and took scandal. 

Before I come to the words, it is not amiss briefly to touch these points, 
to make way to that I am to deliver. 

First of all, that, 

1. God's dearest children are exercised with sharp spintual coyiflicts. 

God suffers their very faith in principles sometimes to be shaken. What 
is more clear than God's providence ? Not the noonday. Yet God 
suffers sometimes his own children to be exercised with conflicts of this 
kind, to doubt of principles written in the book of God, as it were, with a 
sunbeam, that have a lustre in themselves. There is nothing more clear 
than that God hath a particular special providence over his ; yet God's 
wa} s are so unsearchable and deep, that he doth spiritually exercise his 
children ; he suffers them to be exercised, as you see here he comes out of 
a conflict ; ' but it is good for me to draw near to God.' I will touch it. 
Therefore I will extend it only to God's people, that, if by reason of the 
remainders of corruption God suffer their rebellious hearts to cast mire 
and dirt, to cast in objections that are odious to the spiritual man, that 
part that is good, they may not be cast down too much and dejected. It 
is no otherwise with them than it hath been with God's dear children, as 
we see in Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and others. It is a clear truth. I only 
point at it that we might have it ready to comfort ourselves when such 
things rise in our souls. It is no otherwise with us than it hath been with 
other of God's dear children. 

The second point is, that, 

2. God's children, ivhen they are in this conflict, they recover themselves. 
God sufi'ers them to be foiled, but then they recover themselves. First, 

there is a conflict, and then ofttimes the foil. A man is foiled by the 
worst part in him, and then after a while he recovers ; and then, as in 
other conflicts, there is triumph and victory, as we see here his conflict 
and recovery. 

For God's children go not far off" from him, as it is in ver. 27, ' Lo, 
they that are far off from thee shall perish.' They may have their thoughts 
unsettled a little concerning God's providence, but they run not far off', 
they go not a-whoring, as carnal men do. They begin to slip, but God hath 
a blessed hand under them to recover them, that they do not fall away, 
that they fall not foully. They may slip and fall a little, to stand better 
and surer after, but they go not far off as wicked men do. They never 
slip so low but God's goodness is lower to hold them up. He hath one 
hand under them and another hand above them, embracing them, so that 

THE saint's resolution. 83 

they cannot fall dangerously. This is the second ; from this that we see 
here, he recovers out of this conflict. 

Use. Which may serve to discern our estate in grace. If we belong to 
God, though such noisome imaginations rise, yet, notwithstanding, there 
is a contrary principle of grace always in God's children that checks them, 
at the least afterwards, if not presently. Such noisome thoughts as these 
rule and reign in carnal men, for they take scandal * at God's government, 
and they judge, indeed, that the ways of wicked men are happy. They 
have false principles, and they frame their course of life to such false prin- 
ciples and rules, from cherishing atheistical doubts of God's providence, and 
the like. It is far otherwise with God's children. There are conflicts in 
them, but there is a recovery ; they check them presently ; they have God's 
Spirit, and the seed of grace in them. That is never extinct. - 

3. The way of recovery is to enter into GoiVs sanctuary. For we must 
not give liberty to ourselves to languish in such a course, to look to present 
things too much, but look into God's book, and there we shall find what is 
threatened to such and such ill courses, and what promises are made to 
good courses. And then apply God's truth to the example ; see how God 
hath met with wicked men in their rufi'e,f and advanced his children when 
they were at the lowest, when they were even at the brink of despair. 
Examples in this kind are pregnant and clear throughout the Scripture. 
The Lord saith, ' It shall go well with the righteous, and it shall [not] go well 
with the wicked,' Ps. xci. 8 ; ' Let him escape a thousand times. Doubt- 
less there is a reward for the godly,' Ps. Iviii. 11. Let us look in the 
book of God, upon the predictions, and see the verifying of those predic- 
tions in the examples that act the rules, and bring them to the view : let 
us see the truths in the examples. This entering into God's sanctuary it 
is the way to free us from dangerous scandals, and to overcome dangerous 
conflicts ; for the conclusions of the sanctuary are clean contrary to sen- 
sible carnal reason. Carnal reason saith, Such a one is a happy man ; 
sure he is in great favour ; God loves him. Oh, but the sanctuary saith. 
It shall never go well with such a man. Carnal reason would say of Dives, 
Oh, a happy man ; but the sanctuary saith, * He had his good here,' and 
' Lazarus had his ill here.' Carnal reason saith. Is there any providence 
that rules in the earth ? Is there a God in heaven, that sufi'ers these things 
to go so confusedly ? Ay, but the word of God, the sanctuary, saith, 
there is a providence that rules all things sweetly, and that * all things are 
beautiful in their time,' Eccles. iii. 11. 

We must not look upon things in their confusion, but knit things. 
' Mark the end, mark the end of the righteous man,' Ps. xxxvii. 37. Look 
upon Joseph in prison. Here is a horrible scandal ! For where was God's 
providence to watch over a poor young man. But see him after, ' the 
second man in the kingdom.' Look on Lazarus at the rich man's door, 
and there is scandal; but see him after in Abraham's bosom. If we see 
Christ arraigned before Pilate, and crucified on the cross, here is a scan- 
dal, that innocency itself should be wronged. But stay awhile ! See him 
at the right hand of God, ' ruling principalities and powers, subjecting all 
things under his feet,' Eph. i. 21. 

Thus the sanctuary teacheth us to knit one thing to another, and not 
brokenly to look upon things present, according to the dreams of men's 

* That is, ' make a stumbling-block of.' — G. 

t Edward Philips, Sibbes's contemporary, uses the word ' ruflfe ' very much as here. 
See ' Godly Learned Sermons ' (1605), p. 160. It seems = height of prosperity. — G. 

84 David's conclusion ; or, 

devices ; but to look upon the catastrophe and winding up of the tragedy; 
not to look on the present conflict, but to go to the sanctuary, and see the 
end of all, see how God directs all things to a sweet end. * All the ways 
of God to his children are mercy and truth,' Ps xcviii. 3, though they seem 
never so full of anger and displeasure. Thus you see God's children are 
in conflict ofttimes, and sometimes they are foiled in the conflict ; yet by 
way of recovery they go into the sanctuary, and there they have spiritual 
eye-salve. They have another manner of judgment of things than ' flesh 
and blood hath.' 

4. Again, we see, when he went into the sanctuary, the venj sight of faith 
makes him draw near to God. Sometimes God represents heavenly truths 
to the eye of sense, in the examples of his justice. We see sometimes 
wicked men brought on the stage. God blesseth such a sight of faith, and 
such examples to bring his children nearer to him ; as we see immediately 
before the text, ' thou wilt destroy all that go a-whoring from thee ;' and 
then it follows, ' It is good for me to draw near to God.' So that the 
Spirit of God in us, and our spirits sanctified by the Spirit, takes advan- 
tage when we enter into the sanctuary, and see the diverse ends of good 
and bad, to draw us close to God. 

Indeed, that is one reason why God sufi'ers difi'erent conditions of men 
to be in the world, not so much to shew his justice to the wicked, as that 
his children, seeing of his justice and his mercy, and the manifestation and 
discovery of his providence in ordering his justice towards wicked men, it 
may make them cleave to his mercy more, and give a lustre to his mercy. 
' It is good for me to cleave to the Lord.' I see what will become of all 

5. The next that follows upon this, that God's children, thus conflicting 
and going into the sanctuary, and seeing the end of cdl there, they go a con- 
trary course to the world. They swim against the stream. As we say of 
the stars and planets, they have a motion of their own, contrary to that 
rapt motion, whereby they are carried and whirled about in four- and- twenty 
hours from east to west. They have a creeping motion and period of their 
own, as the moon hath a motion of her own backward from west to east, 
that [shej makes every month ; and the sun hath a several* motion from the 
rapt motion he is carried with that he goes about in a year. So God's 
children, they live and converse, and are carried with the same motion as 
the world is. They live among men, and converse as men do ; but not- 
withstanding, they have a contrary motion of their own, which they are 
directed and carried to by the Spirit of God, as here the holy prophet 
saith, ' It is good for me to draw near to God.' As if he should say, For 
other men, be they great or small, be they of what condition they will, let 
them take what course they will, and let them see how they can justify 
their course, and take what benefit they can ; let them reap as they sow ; 
it do not matter much what course they take, I will look to myself; as for 
me, I am sure this is my best course, ' to draw near to God.' 

So the sanctified spirit of a holy man, he looks not to the stream of the 
times, what be the currents, and opinions, and courses of rising to prefer- 
ment, of getting riches, of attaining to an imaginary present happiness 
here ; but he hath other thoughts, he hath another judgment of things, and 
therefore goes contrary to the world's course. Hear St Paul, Phil. ii. 21 ; 
saith he there, * All men seek their own, — I cannot speak of it without 
weeping, — whose end is damnation, whose belly is their god, who mind 
* That is, ' separate.' — G. 

THE saint's resolution. 85 

earthly things.' But what doth St Paul, when other men seek their own, 
and are carried after private ends ? Oh, saith he, * our conversation is in 
heaven, from whence w^e look for the Saviour, who shall change our vile 
bodies, and make them like his glorious body, according to his mighty 
power, whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself.' So you see 
the blessed apostle, led with the same Spirit as the man of God here, he 
considers not what men do, he fetcheth not the rules of his life from the 
example of the great ones of the world or from multitude. These are 
false, deceiving rules. But he fetcheth the rule of his life from the experi- 
mental goodness he had found by a contrary course to the world. Let 
the world take what course they will, ' it is good for me to draw near to 

6. I might add a little further, that the course and corrupt j)rinciples of 
the ivorld are so far frorn shaking a child of God, that they settle him. They 
stir up his zeal the more. As we say, there is an antiperistasis, an increas- 
ing of contraries by contraries, as we see in winter the body is warmer by 
reason that the heat is kept in, and springs are v/armer in winter because 
the heat is kept in ; so the Spirit of God, in the hearts of his children, 
works and boils when it is environed with contraries. It gathers strength 
and breaks out with more zeal, as David, Ps. cxix. 126, when he saw men 
did not keep God's law. We see how he complains to God, ' It is time. 
Lord, for thee to work.' Indeed, it is the nature of opposition to increase 
the contrary. Those that have the Spirit and grace of God in truth, they 
gather strength by opposition. 

Use. Therefore the use we are to make of it, is to discern of ourselves of 
what spirit ice are, wliat principles we lead our lives hy ; whether by exam- 
ples of greatness, or multitude, or such like, it is an argument we are led 
by the spirit of the world and not by the Spirit of God. God's children, 
as they are severed from the world in condition, they are men of another 
world, so they are severed from the world in disposition, in their course 
and conversation. Therefore, from these grounds their course is contrary 
to the world. ' But it is good for me;' ' but' is, not in the original. It is, 
* And it is good for me ;' but the other is aimed at. The sense is, ' But 
it is good for me to draw near to God,' and so it is in the last translation [b). 
Thus you see what way we have^ made to the words. I do but touch 
these things, and it was necessary to say something of them, because the 
words are a triumphant conclusion upon the former premises. 

7. And in the words, in general, observe this first of all, that God by 
his Spirit enahleth his children to justify wisdom by their oivn experience. 

To make it good by their own experience : ' It is good for me to draw 
near to God.' And this is one reason why God suffers them to be shaken, 
and then in conflict to recover, that after recovery they may justify the 
truth. Nihil tarn certimi, &c., nothing is so certain as that that is certain 
after doubting (c). Nothing is so fixed as that that is fixed after it hath 
been shaken, as the trees have the strongest roots, because they are most 
shaken with winds and tempests. Now God suffers the understanding, 
that is, the inward man, of the best men to be shaken, and after settles 
them, that so they may even from experience justify all truths ; that they 
may say it is naught,* it is a bitter thing to sin. Satan hath abused me, 
and my own lust abused me, and enticed me away from God ; but I see no 
such good thing in sin as nature persuaded me before. As travellers will 
tell men you live poorly here. In such a country you may do wondrous 
* That is, ' naughty ' = wicked. — G. 



well. There you shall have plenty and respect. And when they come 
there, and arc pinched with hunger, and disrespect, they come home with 
shame enough to themselves that they were so heguiled ; so it is with God's 
children. Sometimes he suffers them to be foiled, and lets them have the 
reins of their lusts awhile, to taste a little of the forbidden tree ; that after 
they may say with experience, it is a bitter thing to forsake God, it is better 
[to] go to my * former husband,' as the church saith in Hosea, when God took 
her in hand a little, ii. 7. Sin will be bitter at the last. So the prodigal 
he was sufl'ered to range till he was whipped awhile, and then he could con- 
fess it was better to be in his ' father's house.' God suflers his children 
to fall into some course of sin, that afterward, by experience, they may 
justify good things, and be able to say that God is good. 

And the judgment of such is more firm, and doth more good than those 
that have been kept from sinking at all. God, in his wise providence, 
suffers this. 

Use. We should labour, therefore, to justify in our oini experience all 
that is good. AVhat is the reason that men are ashamed of good courses so 
soon ? It may be they are persuaded a little to pray, and to sanctify the 
Lord's day, to retire themselves from vanity and such like. Ay, but if 
their judgments be not settled out of the book of God, and if they have 
not some experience, they will not maintain this ; therefore they are driven 
off. Now a Christian should be able to justify against all gainsayers what- 
soever can be said, by his own experience. That to read the book of God, 
and to hear holy truths opened by men led with the Spirit of God, it is a 
good thing, I find God's Spirit sanctify me by it. To sanctify the Lord's- 
day, I find it good by experience. That where there is the communion of 
saints, holy conference, &c., I can justify it, if there were no Scripture for 
it : I find it by experience to be a blessed way to bring me to a heavenly 
temper, to fit me for heaven. So there is no good course, but God's chil- 
dren should be able, both by Scripture, and likewise by their own expe- 
rience, to answer all gainsayers. When either their own hearts, or others, 
shall oppose it, he may be able to say with the holy man here, it is no 
matter what you say, * it is good for me to draw near to God.' So much 
for the general. To come more particularly to the words. 

' It is good for me to draw near to God.' 

Here you have the justification of piety, of holy courses, which is set 
down by ' drawing near to God ; ' and the argument whereby it is justi- 
fied, ' It is good.' This gloss put upon anything commends it to man ; 
for naturally since the fall there is so much left in man, that he draws to 
that which is good ; but, when he comes to particulars, there is the error, 
he seeks heaven in the way of hell, he seeks happiness in the way of misery, 
he seeks light in the way of darkness, and life in the way and path of death : 
his lusts so hurry him and carry him the contrary way. But yet there is 
left this general foundation of religion in all men ; as the heathen could 
suy, naturally all men from the principles of nature draw to that which is 
good. Here religious courses are justified and commended from that which 
hath the best, attractive, and most magnetical force. * It is good to draw 
near to God.' ' Good' hath a drawing force; for the understanding, that 
shews and discovers; but the will is the chief guide in man, and answerable 
to the discovery of good or ill in the understanding, there is a prosecution 
or aversation* in the will, which is that part in the soul of man that cleaves 
to good discovered. To unfold the words a little. 
* That is, ' turning from.' — G. 

THE saint's resolution. 87 

• It is goocV to draw near to God, who is the chief good. It is good in 
qiiality, and good in condition and state. It is good in quality and dispo- 
sition ; for it is the good of conformity for the understanding creature to 
draw near to Grod the Creator, who hath fitted the whole inward man to 
draw near, to conform to him. 

And then it is good in condition ; for it is his happiness to do so. The 
goodness of the creature is in drawing near to God. The nearer anything 
is to the principle of such a thing, the better it is for it ; the nearer to the 
sun, the more light ; the nearer to the fire, the more heat : the nearer to 
that which is goodness itself, the more good ; the nearer to happiness, the 
more happy ; therefore it must needs be the happiness of condition to draw 
near to God. So you see what is meant, when he saith here, * It is good.' 
It is a pleasing good, conformable to God's will ; he commands it; and it 
is for my good likewise ; it advanceth my condition to draw near to God. 

' To 'draw near.' What is it to draw near to God ? We shall see by 
what it is to go from God. God is everywhere. We are always near to 
God. ' Whither shall I go from thy presence ? If I go to hell, thou art 
there,' &c., saith the psalmist, Ps. cxxxix, 8. God is everywhere indeed 
in regard of his presence, and power, and disposing providence ; but then 
there is a gracious presence of God in the hearts of his children. And 
there is a strange presence of God to Christ, the ])rese)ice of union ; which 
makes the human nature of Christ the happiest creature that ever was, 
being joined by a hypostatical union to the second person. But we speak 
not of that nearness here. There is a gracious nearness when the Spirit 
of God, in the spirits of those that belong to God, sweetly enlargeth, and 
comforts, and supports, and strengtheneth them, working that in them that 
he works in the hearts of none else. For instance, the soul is in the whole 
man. It is difi'used over all the members. It is in the foot, in the eye, 
in the heart, and in the brain. But how is it in all these ? It is in the 
foot as it moves it. It is in the heart, as the principle of life. It 
is in the brain and understanding, using and exercising his reasoning, 
understanding power. So that, though all the soul be in the whole 
man, yet it is otherwise in the brain than in the rest. So, though 
God be everywhere, yet he is otherwise in his children than in others. 
He is in them graciously and comfortably, exercising his graces in them, 
and comforting them. He is not so with the rest of the world. You 
see how God is present everywhere, and how he is graciously present with 
his. So answerable we are said to be near to God. We are near him 
in what state soever we are, but then there is a gracious nearness when our 
whole soul is near to God, as thus : when our understandings conceive 
aright of God ; as it is said of the young man in the Gospel, when he began 
to speak discreetly and judiciously, ' Thou art not far from the kingdom of 
God.' When men have a right conceit* of divine truths, they are not far 
from the kingdom of God, when there is clearness of judgment to conceive 
aright. Those that have corrupt principles are far ofi". If the understand- 
ing be corrupt, all the rest will go astray. There is the first nearness when 
the judgment is sanctified by the Spirit to conceive aright. 

Then again, there is a nearness when we not only know things aright, 
but mind them ; when the things are present to our minds ;^ when God is 
in our thoughts. David saith of the wicked man, ' God is not in his 
thoughts.' When we mind and think of God and heavenly things, they 
are near to us, and we to them. For the soul is a spiritual essence. It 
* That is, conception. — G. 

88 David's conclusion ; or, 

goes eveiywLere, it goes to heaven, and is present with the things it minds. 
We are nearer to God and heavenly things when we mind them, and think 
on and feed our thoughts on them. 

Again, we are near them tvhen our icills first make choice of the better part 
with Mary ; when upon discovery of the understanding, the will chooseth 
deliberately. Upon consideration follows the determination and choosing 
of the will ; and upon choice, cleaving, which is another act of the will. 
When it chooseth that which is spiritually best, every way best for grace 
and condition, then it cleaves to it. As it is said of Jonathan, ' His heart 
did cleave to David,' 1 Sam. xviii. 1. So the woman cleaves to her hus- 
band, as Saint Paul speaks, 1 Cor. vii. 10. When the will chooseth and 
cleaves to that which is good, then there is a drawing near. 

And likewise, ivhen the affections are carried to God as their object, then 
there is a drawing near to God ; when our love embraceth God and 
heavenly things, for love is an affection of union. It makes the thing 
loved and he that loveth to be one. It is the primary, the first-born affec- 
tion of the soul, from which all other affections are bred. When we love 
God, we desire still further and further communion with him. And where 
there is love, if we have not that we love, then the soul goes forth to God 
in desire of heavenly things. ' The heart pants after God, as the hart 
doth after the rivers of waters,' Ps. xlii. 1, and after holy things, wherein 
the Spirit of God is effectual. And when we have it in any measure, then 
the soul shews a sweet enlargement of joy and delight in God. Thus when 
we judge aright of and mind heavenly things, and make choice of them, and 
cleave to God with all our affections of love, and joy, and delight, when 
these are carried to God and heavenly things, then we draw near to him. 

And especially when the ' inward man ' is touched with the Spirit of God. 
Even as the iron that is touched with the loadstone, though it be heavy of 
itself, it will go up, so, when the inward man is touched by the Spirit of 
God with a spirit of faith, which is a grace by which we draw near to God 
with trust, — for it is confidence and trust that draws us near to God, — 
faith, it is wrought in the whole inward man, in the understanding, in the 
mind, in choosing and cleaving, but especially it is in the will ; for faith 
is described to be a going to God, a coming to him, which is a promotion 
or going forth, which is an act of the will ; so by faith and trust specially 
we draw near and cleave to God. Even as at the first we fell from God 
by distrusting of his word ; saith the Devil, ' Ye shall not die at all,' Gen. 
iii. 4 : we believed a liar more than God himself. Now we are recovered by 
a way contrary to that we fell ; we must recover and draw near to God 
again by trusting and relying upon God. You see what is meant by the 
words, ' It is good for me to draw near to God.' 

To come to observe some things from them, first this, that 

Spiritual conviction of the judgment, it is the ground of practice. 

It is good, and good /or me. For we know in nature that the will follows 
the last design of the understanding. That which the understanding saith 
is to be done, here and now, all circumstances considered it is best, that 
the will chooseth and that a man doth, for the will rules and leads the 
outward man. Now where there is a heavenly conviction of the under- 
standing of any particular thing, this at this time is good, all things con- 
sidered; and weighed in the balance, on the one side and on the other, 
where this is, there comes in practice and drawing near to God alway. 
Conviction is when a man is set down, so that he cannot gainsay nor will 
not, but falls to practice presently ; then a man is convinced of a thing. 

THE saint's resolution. 89 

That which is immediately before practice, and leads to practice, it is con- 
viction. Now, there are these four things in conviction. 

There is first truth. A man must know that such a thing is true. Then 
it must not only be a truth, but a good truth ; as the gospel is said to be 
' the good word of God,' Heb. vi. 5, and * it is a true and a faithful saying,' 
1 Tim. i. 15. It is a true saying, 'that Christ came to save sinners,' 
Matt. ix. 13 ; and it is a faithful, a good saying. If it be not good as 
well as true, truth doth not draw to practice as it is truth, but as it is 

As it must be truth, and a good truth, so it must be good for me, as the 
holy man saith here, ' It is good for me,' &c. A thing may be good for 
another man. The devil knows what is good ; and that makes him envy 
poor Christians so. Wicked men know that which is good when they sin 
against the Holy Ghost ; but for them it is better to keep in the contrary. 
So that we must Imow it is a truth, and a good truth, and good for us in 
particular, that it is best for us to do so. 

The fourth is this : Though it be true, and good, and good for us ; yet 
before we can come to practice, it must he a good that is comparative, better 
than other things that are presented, or else no action will follow. A man 
must be able to say, This is better than that. A weak man that is led with 
passions and lusts, he ofttimes sees the truth of things, and sees they are 
good, and good for me, and wishes that he could take such a course ; but 
such is the strength of his passions at this time, that it is better to do thus, 
it is better to yield to his lusts, and he trusts that God will be merciful, 
and he shall recover it afterwards. These four things, therefore, must be 
in conviction before we can take the best course ; and these are all here 
in this holy man, for he saw it was a truth, a duty, and likewise that it 
v/as a good truth ; for to be near to God, the fountain of good, it must 
needs be good. And then it was good for him to be so, nay, it was good, 
all things considered ; for it is a conclusion, as it were, brought out of the 
fire, out of a conflict. Nay, say the flesh, and say all the world what it 
can to the contrary, ' It is good for me to draw near to God.' He brings 
it in as a triumphant conclusion. Put drawing near to God in one balance, 
and lay in that balance all the inconveniences that may follow drawing near 
to God, — the displeasure of great ones, the loss of any earthly advantage, — 
and lay in the other balance all the advantages that keep men from draw- 
ing near to God, — as if a man do not keep a good conscience, he may please 
this or that man, he may get riches, and advance himself, and better his 
estate, — consider all that be, yet notwithstanding, it is better to di'aw near 
to God, with all the disadvantages that follow that course, than to take the 
contrary. Thus you see the truth clear, that conviction is the way and 
foundation of practice. 

Use. Therefore we should labour by all means to be convinced of the 
best things. It is not suflicient to have a general notion, and slightly to 
hear of good things. No ; we must beg the Spirit of God that he would 
seal and set them upon our souls ; and so strongly set and seal them there, 
that when other things are presented to the contrary, with all the advan- 
tages and colours and glosses that flesh and blood can set upon them, yet 
out of the strength of spiritual judgment we may be able to judge of the 
best things out of a spiritual conviction, and to say it is best to cleave to 
God. So said the blessed man of God Moses. There was in the one end 
of the balance the pleasures of sin, the honours of a court, there was all 
that earth could afi'ord, — for if it be not to be had in a prince's court, 



where is it to be had ? His place was more than ordinary ; he was ac- 
counted the son of Pharaoh's daughter, — yet lay all that in the balance, 
and in the other part of the balance, to draw near to God's people, 
though the people of God were a base, forlorn, despised, afflicted people 
at that time, 3-et notwithstanding to draw near to the cause of religion, the 
disgraced cause of religion, * to draw near to God ' when he is disgraced 
in the world, — it is easy to draw near to God when there is no opposition, — 
but Jo draw near to God's part and side when it is disgraced in the world, 
Moses saw it the best end of the balance, put in the afflictions, and dis- 
grace of God's people, or what you will. So it was with Abraham when 
he followed God as it were blindfold, and left all, his father's house and 
the contentments he had there. So it was with our Saviour's disciples. 
They left all to follow Christ ; they were convinced of this, Surely we 
shall get more good by the company of Christ than by those things that 
we leave for him. 

Let us labour therefore to be convinced of the excellency of spiritual 
things, and then spiritual practice will follow. And undoubtedly the reason 
of the profane conversation of the world, it comes from hidden atheism ; 
that men make no better choice than they do, that they draw not near to 
God. Let them say what they will, it proceeds from hence. I prove it 
thus. When men are convinced of good things, they will do good, for 
conviction is the ground of practice ; and when men do not take good 
courses, it is because they are not convinced of the best things. There- 
fore men that swear, and blaspheme, that are carnal, brute persons, at that 
time atheism rules in their hearts, that they believe not these things in 
the book of God to be true. Can the swearer believe that ' God will not 
hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain ; that a curse shall follow 
the swearer,' Exod. xx. 7, and the whoremonger ; ' that whoremongers 
and adulterers God will judge ? Heb. xiii. 4, and so the covetous, and 
extortioners, they that raise themselves by ill means, * shall not enter into 
the kingdom of heaven,' Can men beheve this, and live in the practice of 
these sins ? If they did believe these things indeed, as the word of God 
sets them down, if they did believe that sin Avere so bitter, and so foul a 
thing as the word of God makes it, certainly they would not ; therefore it 
comes from a hidden atheism. Indeed, there is a bundle of atheism 
and infidelity in the heart of man, and we cannot bewail it [too much. 
In the best there are some remainders of it : as this holy man, ' So 
foolish was I, and as a beast before thee,' Ps. Ixxiii. 22, when he 
thought of his doubting of God's providence. Therefore considering 
that the cause of all ill practice is that we are not spiritually con- 
vinced of the contrary, that sin is a naughty and bitter thing, nor are we 
sufficiently convinced of the best things, let us labour more and more to 
be soundly convinced of these things. 

Now, nothing will do this but the Holy Ghost, as ye have it John xvi. 7, 
seq. : ' Christ promiseth to send the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, and he 
shall convince the world of sin ;' that is, he shall so set sin before the eyes 
of men's souls, that they shall know there is no salvation but in Christ. 
He shall convince them of unbelief, that horrible sin. They shall have it 
presented so to them, that they shall believe presently upon it. This the 
Holy Ghost must do. 

But the Holy Ghost doth it in the use of means. Therefore it must be 
our wisdom to hear and pray and meditate much, that God would vouch- 
safe his Spirit to persuade us, to convince our understanding, to convince 

THE saint's resolution. 91 

US of all our false reasonings against good things, that tliere may not a 
vile imagination rise in our hearts contrary to divine principles. 

'It is good to draw near to God.' Therefore it is good to come to the 
sacrament, which is one way of drawing near to God. Let us be so con- 
vinced of it, that it is not only a necessary, but a comfortable and sweet 
dutyl^to have communion with God ; for will we suffer for Christ if we will 
not feast with him '? What shall we say of those, therefore, that are so 
far from drawing near to God, when they have these opportunities, that 
they turn their backs ? They clean thwart this blessed man here. He 
saith, ' It is good for me to draw near to God ;' nay, say they, it is good 
for me to have nothing to do with God, nor Christ, no, not when he comes 
to allure me. Now, he is come near us indeed, that we might come near 
him. Because we were strangers to God, and could not draw near to him, 
simply considered, God became man, Emmanuel, God with us, that he 
might bring us to God. Christ is that Jacob's ladder that knits heaven 
and earth together. Christ, God and man, knits God and man together. 
This was the end of his incarnation and of his death, to make our peace, 
to bring those near that were strangers, nay, enemies before ; and of our 
part and portion in the benefits of his death, we are assured in the sacra- 
ment. Therefore let us draw near to our comfort, with cheerfulness, for 
his goodness that we have these opportunities. Let us draw near to God 
to have our faith strengthened and our communion with him increased. 

Only let us labour to come with clean hearts. ' God will be sanctified 
in all that come near him,' Lev. x. 3. Let us know that we have to deal 
with a holy God, and with holy things, and therefore cast aside a purpose 
of living in sin ; let us not come with defiled hearts, for then, though the 
things be holy in themselves, the}' are defiled to us. Let us come with a 
resolution to renew our covenant, and come with rejoicing that God stoops 
so low to use these poor helps, that in themselves are weak, yet by his 
blessing they are able greatly to strengthen our faith. 


[n) P. 81. — ' This psalm is a psalm of David, or of Asapli.' Cf. Dr J. A. 
Alexander and Thrupp in loco. Modern criticism seems to have no doubt that 
Asaph was tlie author, not merely the ' singer,' of this psalm. 

[b) P, 85. — "'But' is not in the original." Cf. above reference. Dr Alexander 
renders, ' And I,' &c. ' As for me — the approach of God to me (is) good.' The 
' last translation' is our present authorised version. ' G. 

(c) P. 85. — ' Nihil tarn certum,'' &c. An apophthegm common to Philosophy, and 
met with in various forms ; e.g. it is a common saying, ' He who never doubted, 
never believed.' 




' The Church's Blackness' forms No. 17 of the sermons in The Saint's Cordials 
of 1629. It was withdrawn in the after- editions. Its separate title-page is given 
below.* G. 

* THE 

In One Sermon. 


f That the best of Gods Saints, whitest they are here, are in 

I imperfect estate. 
That though our estate be here tinperfect, tjet we must not 
J be discouraged. 

I As also, that Christians have beauty as well as hlacknesse. 
And that there is a glory and excellency in the Saints of 
I God, in the midst of all their deformities and debase- 
[^ ments. 

Prselucendo Pereo. 

Vpeightnes Hath Boldnes, 


Printed in the yeare 1629. 


I am black, hut comely, ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, 
and as the curtains of Solomon. Look not upon me, because I am black, 
because the sun hath looked upon me ; my mother s children were angry 
u'ith me ; they made me the keeper of the vineyards : but mine own vine- 
yard have I not kept. — Cant. I. 5, 6. 

In the former verses of this chapter, the church having shewed her fervent 
love and dear affection unto Christ, and longing for a nearer communion 
\vith^ him ; having also confessed and professed her own weakness and 
inability to come towards him, for which cause she says, ' Draw me, we 
will run after thee ; ' in the words which I have read, and in the verse fol- 
lowing, she comes to remove certain objections and impediments, which 
might either discredit her or discourage her daughters, which she doth by 
turning her speeches unto them, who are answered as though they had 
expressed their objection in direct words ; for the Spirit knows how to 
meet with our secret thoughts, either present or to come. Now these 
daughters who here make the objection, are supposed to be such as have 
no sanctifying grace as yet in them, at least very little (as it appeareth by 
their contemning of the church, ver. 6, and disacquaintance with Christ, 
chap. V. 9), yet daughters of Jerusalem. Now the first objection the 
church hath to meet with, is by reason of such as live in the church, are 
bred and born there, partake of the ordinances, are in the church, though 
not all of it, and these the church hath to do withal. As for the daughtei's 
of Babylon, and those out of the church, they do not heed what she saith, 
nor understand in any measure her language, they are neither for her nor 
her love. Well, with these daughters she deals, and taking up their objec- 
tion, first, she answers it, ver. 5 ; secondly, she enlarges her answer, 
ver. 6. _ The objection is, ' Thou art black ; ' and this is aggravated from a 
comparison ; the manner with her afiected love, thus : And is Christ 
indeed, as thou reportest him, the best lover, full of sweetness and holi- 
ness, a king ? what an unwise woman art thou to entertain any hopes of 
marrying him, sith you have nothing, be poor, afflicted, filthy ; in a word, 
black, yea, very black. This is the objection, which she answers nimbly 
two ways. 

1. By yielding what was said: ' I am black ; ' that is, my estate here is 
imperfect, subject to sin, to affliction ; not beautiful, therefore, in carnal 
eyes and judgments, but deformed. 

96 THE church's blackness. 

2. By denying the argument, that therefore she must be despised of men, 
rejected of Christ as one that had nothing in her ; nay, black folks may 
be handsome and desirable, and so saith she, I am to the eye contemptible, 
yet inwardly rich, desirable, and lovely, -uhich she showeth by two com- 

First, thus : It is -with me as with the tents of Kcdar. The Kedarenes 
dwelt in Arabin, they dwelt in tents covered with hair (as Solymus and 
Pliny speaks) {a), which tents were very coarse to look to, tanned, exposed 
to all weather, rough with the sun, and hard, and yet in those tents they 
had much treasure, they were full of wealth, in cattle, in spices, in gold, 
in precious stones. So is it with the church ; though outwardly base, yet 
there are treasures within, and much glory, as further she shews, saying, 
she was like Solomon's curtains ; his bed is after mentioned ; and out of 
question all his doings were admirable. 

This is her second comparifion. Xou read what a glorious house he 
built, how long it was a-building. If the church therefore be like his 
curtains, she is very glorious, amiable, and rich. But how is she like 
them ? Thus, as the curtains of Solomon's bed were most glorious, and 
yet did not lie open to every eye, it being for those especially favoured to 
be admitted into such a king's bedchamber, and inmost rooms, which be 
for the king and his spouse, so it is with the church ; she is rich, though 
her riches be inward, and not discernible by every eye: as Ps. slv. 13, 
* The king's daughter is all glorious within ; like Solomon's curtains and 
Kedar's tents.' As if she should say, ' I am black,' so are the tents of 
Kedar, and yet have treasures in them. And not to send you so far, ye 
daughters of Jerusalem, know that there is much treasure and glory in 
Solomon's palace, which every one sees not, and so in me. Thus she 
answers the objection, and next, ver. 6, she dwelleth upon it, and enlargeth 
it. But first of this. For the meaning thereof, you see what we conceive 
of it; we will not be prejudicial to any man's opinion [b). The very 
matter is, she contends that it is possible for her to be rich, glorious, and 
lovely inwardly, though not in show (because her outward blackness did 
expose her to censure in the eyes of most men), and this she proves by two 
instances, well known unto these daughters : 1, of the Arabians, who 
brought treasure yearly to Solomon, 2 Chron. ix. 14, which argued their 
riches, though they lived in sun-burnt tents ; and 2, of Solomon, who was as 
rich within doors as without, though all saw it not. Thus you have the 
church's confession, and her defence ; black outwavdly, and inwardly for 
some corruption, as after this is objected. Thus much is yielded. Hence 
then learn we, 

Point 1. The church of God and Christians, whilst they are hero, are in 
an unperfect state. No Christian in this life attains to full happiness and 
brightness, but is attended on by those sins and sorrows that argue an 
unperfect estate. The church of God, and every converted Christian, must 
needs confess that they be black outwardly and inwardly. This we hear 
not only from her own mouth, in her first conversion, but after ; for how- 
soever we conceive of these things in the first chapter and part of the 
second, to agi-ee with the first age of a Christian especially, yet not only ; 
for what is here said of her is ever true whilst here on earth, though the 
degree be somewhat varied. The Holy Ghost useth a fair comparison; he 
makes the church to be born in the night, and to travel towards the day ; 
she is going towards perfection, as one that sets out before day ; yea, she 
is gone so far that it draweth towards the dawning. There is a mixture of 

THE church's blackness. 9 

some light and darkness together, and so it will be till we come to heaven, 
both for sin and sorrow, for sins and defects in soul. So, 1 Peter ii. 20, 
the saints have faults in this life, and are buffeted for them ; there must 
be addition of grace to grace, 2 Peter i. 5, so Eph. i. 18. The eye of our 
understanding is shut until it be opened ; and we have wonderful things 
to look after beyond the power of our present condition ; for outward estate, 
see Prov. iv. 18, the church's path is like the shining light, ' which 
shineth more and more unto the perfect day ; ' for both she is duskish 
between night and day, and so will be till that full morning come. So 
Ps. xlix., what is the whole tenor thereof, save only a large commentary 
of our frailties and imperfections whilst we live here ? So we find by 
Paul's description of the church, Eph. iv. 12, she is a house not yet fully 
furnished, nor beautified, but exposed to storms, and imperfect ; she is a 
body not yet grown, like the tabernacle, an imperfect thing. This we see, 
Eev. ii. 3. Every church there is noted for sins, or afflictions, or both. If we 
conceive these churches to be types, the proof is most pregnant ; if not 
(for I am persuaded God hath done teaching his church by types ; for, as 
Heb. i. 2, * In these last and latter days he speaks unto us by his Son, 
whom he hath made heir of all things '), yet since no church was more 
famous than those, who yet had blemishes and frailties a-many, it warrants 
here, and strengthens the point we have in hand. Hence comes the 
church's confession here both of sin and sorrow. Hence Paul saith, 1 Cor. 
xiii. 9, speaking of the church's estate, ' We know in part, and prophesy 
in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in 
part shall be done away.' Hence 1 John i. 8, it is said, ' If we say we 
have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. The causes 
why God will have it so are. 

Reasons. 1. First, In regard of outward infirmities, that we might be made 
conformable to his Son, Rom. viii. 17, and so reign with him, being first 
made suitable to the body. Christ was to be like us in all things, sin 
excepted, and to partake with us in flesh and blood, that he might destroy 
him that had the power of death ; that is, the devil, Heb. ii. 14. And we 
are to partake of him and his afflictions, that so we may come to partake 
of the divine nature, and be all in a suit,* as servants of the same master. 

2. Secondly, In respect of outward and inward infirmities, both because 
God's glory is seen in our infirmities, 2 Cor. xii. 7, his grace being sufiS- 
cient to uphold us, and also in regard our weakness commends his strength, 
and our folly his wisdom. 

3. Thirdly, Because he would draw us out of the earth, and have us 
hasten to accomplish the marriage and come away, therefore he sends us 
so many crosses, and so little rest in the flesh. 

4. Again, Because God would have us humble, patient, and pitiful 
people, neither of which would be unless our state were imperfect ; we 
would never know ourselves, our brethren, and God, unless it were so, 
that on both sides we saw the prints of our imperfections. The use is 

Use 1. Is this so? Learn these lessons. First, confess if we be of the 
church, so much. No man is more ready to charge the church than she is 
to confess her infirmities. She never hideth them, she never justifieth 
them ; she is black, she hath afflictions, she kept not her own vine, she 
wants knowledge, afiection, discretion, love. She never denies it, but con- 
fesseth all freely from her heart ; she hides not her sin, but tells what she 
* That is, as elsewhere, ' wear the same dress.' — G. 


98 THE church's blackness. 

is, what she hath done, that so she may give glory to the Lord God of 
Israel. And indeed, it maketh much for the honour of Christ, and com- 
mends his grace, that he, such a king, will set his heart and his eye upon 
such a deformed slut as the world dcemeth her to be. It makes for the 
comfort of her poor children, and much stayeth them, when they shall 
hear the church in all ages, and in her Abraham, David, and Paul, saying, 
* I am black,' I have affliction, corruption, as well as others. It makes for 
the silencing of all saucy daughters that will upbraid her ; an ingenuous 
confession, stops their mouths, and puts them all to silence. It much 
quickens her to the use of the means, and maketh her cry, ' Shew me, 
thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest.' And to seek her comfort 
in Christ Jesus. Oh it doth her good to receive the sentence of death, 
shame, poverty, damnation, in herself, that so she may be found in Christ, 
arrayed with the rich robes of his righteousness. Hence her plain-hearted 
openness in her confession. Let us do the like, and leave it to the harlot 
and whore of Babylon to say herself is a queen, she is glorious, she cannot 
err. But let us say with the church, we are black ; yea, let us see it, let 
us speak it with sorrow, with shame, as the saints have done, and be so 
affected with our estate, that it may truly humble us, and cause us to say, 
' It is the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed.' And let us so con- 
fess it in ourselves, that we pity others, and bear with them, though full 
of sins and miseries ; so confess it, that we stir up others thereby to run, 
as Paul did, and use the ordinances with all diligence, to pray much, to 
read much, to hear, to confer, to advise, and be humble and sincere. A 
verbal confession of frailties, without humility, mercy, diligence, without 
the use of the means, is hypocrisy. If we will speak- with the church, we 
must feel what we say, and so well understand ourselves and our estate, 
that we may gain humility, mercy, watchfulness by it. 

Use. 2. In the second place, thirst after heaven, nay, after the day of 
resurrection. Well may it be called the day of refreshing, the day of mar- 
riage. Till then the church is parched with the sun, and not half tried, 
till then she is accompanied with sundry imperfections in her outside. 
The saints are subject to aches, shames ; their bodies are vile, corruptible ; 
though in the grave free from pain, yet not from dishonour. Imperfec- 
tions within the soul there are many, conflicts, corruptions, temptations, 
fears, sorrows, &c. Imperfections also in company : she is not taken out 
of the world ; she hath her dwelling in the tents of Kedar, meets with 
hypocrites, atheists, persecutions, devils. Imperfections for means; she 
seeth but in a glass, she beholds Christ but through a window ; she is in 
prison, and speaks through it ; and there are imperfections in services, 
repentance, faith, prayer ; and imperfections in parts and members : some 
members be not called yet, and it grieves her ; some being called are very 
sickly, weak, heady ; the best on earth imperfect, those in heaven not per- 
fected till we come also, Ileb. xii. 23. Nay, Christ himself, as head of the 
body, not yet perfected in his members, and in his church, which is his 
fulness, as Paul speaks, Eph. i. 23. Oh then, sith nothing in the church 
attains its perfection till that day, sith Christ calleth, come away, that 
head and members may have the same glory together, sith the creatures 
here, and all saints cry, come ; let us so well understand our estate here, 
and there, and the odds of both, that we may say also, come, fly, my be- 
loved, and be like the roe, that so] all the shadows may fly away ; and 
therefore, not only pray and hasten ourselves, but others also, that so 
harvest may be ripe when we sow betimes. 

THE chuech's blackness. 99 

Well, then, she yields herself to be bLack, but yet she is not discouraged ; 
she will not be set down, she is comely for all her blackness, she will to 
Christ still, as the verse tells us. Hence learn, 

Doct. 2. Though our estate he here imperfect, yet we fmist not he dis- 
couraged. God's children must so see their sins, and sorrow for them, as 
that though they be thereby sent to humiliation, yet they may retain hope 
of mercy. So the church does, Ps. xliv. 17, 'All this is come upon us, 
yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy cove- 
nant; our heart is not turned back,' &c. So Isa. Ixiii. 17, though the 
church was hard-hearted, yet she goes to Christ to bemoan herself : ' Oh 
Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our 
heart from thy fear ? Return, Lord,' &c. ; yet she conceives hope. 
This was Samuel's counsel to the people, 'Fear not: ye have done all 
this wickedness : yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the 
Lord with all your heart,' 1 Sam. xii. 20, 21. And David likewise to his 
soul, Ps. xlii. 11, ' Why art thou cast down, my soul ? and why art thou 
discouraged within me ? yet trust in God.' So the like is Paul's practice, 
Rom. vii. 24, '0 wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me?' &c. 
Then he answers, ' I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.' Thus 
you see the point is plain ; now the reasons. 

Reason 1 . We have a great and mighty deliverer. He loves his children 
in the midst of all their deformities. Like a good father, he tenders us in 
our weaknesses of soul and body, and as a father pities his child the more 
for being sick, so here he calls her for all this, ' thou fairest amongst 
women,' &c. 

2. Secondly, He is able to help them in all estates ; his grace is still 
sufficient, he hath present help. What needs the child be dismayed for 
pain, when the Father can remove it at his pleasure ? 

3. Thirdly, The saints of God in all ages have gone through imperfec- 
tions ; they have been sick, poor, doubtful, passionate, as well as we. 
God hath brought them to heaven, to happiness, through all storms. 
Though in their life they cried, ' we are black,' we are forsaken; and why 
should we fear to wade through those waters where all have escaped that 
went before us ? 

4. Fourthly, Uprightness may stand with imperfection, some gold may 
be amongst earth ; as the church shews here, beauty and deformity may 
stand together, some light, some darkness. Now God bids the upright 
hope, rejoice, says he is blessed, Ps. xxiii. 6. 

5. Lastly, Because the effects of discouragement are too bad, as fretting, 
Ps. xlii. 11 ; yea, this doth not only keep out praises, but causes neglect 
of all ordinances, drives from God, makes one fierce, envious, uncomfort- 
able, impotent, &c. 

TJse 1. This is to humble ourselves for our weakness; for, alas! how 
soon are we swooning and discouraged. Every slight affliction, corrup- 
tion, temptation, doth dismay and put us to silence. If storms fall, and 
winds blow, if flesh stir, and Satan be busy, our faith trembles, and hearts 
are shaken ; we meditate, fear and suspect ourselves ; we suspect God, and 
shun his presence, and say in our haste ' we are forgotten ;' this is our 
death. Oh how unworthy Christ is this carriage ! How unlike the church 
in this place. She is charged with faults, upbraided with baseness, yet 
she holds on, she prayeth still. To Christ she runs; no affliction, no 
temptation, no corruption shall keep her from him, because nothing can 
keep him from her, as Rom. viii. 38 is at length shewed. Where is our 

100 THB church's blackness. 

faith, strength, courage, patience ? Where is the spirit of power, that we 
are so weak in every temptation? Verily, these faintings of spirit, these 
despairing questions, these violent fears, do argue much weakness. Let 
us be humbled for this; humbled, I say, but not discouraged; for even 
the church sometimes, sometimes Manoah, yea, a David, have thus failed.* 

Use 2. Now learn to be courageous. Are afflictions upon thee ? Be 
sensible of them, be humbled in them, but never shrink from thy hold of 
Christ or hope of mercy. Be of Paul's resolution ; ' We are distressed,' 
saith he, ' but yet faint not.' See God at thy right hand, as David did, 
and therefore be not moved. See what is gained by affliction, ' the inward 
man grows.' See what is laid up for these light and short afflictions, 
2 Cor. iv. 17, * even a far more excellent and eternal weight of glory.' 
Art thou censured and scorned by men ? Make use of it, but not to dis- 
couragement. Kemember Christ was despised, counted a worm, judged 
wicked, and then say with the church, * Rejoice not against me, my 
enemy, though I fall I shall rise again : When I am in darkness, the Lord 
he will be a light unto me,' Micah vii. 8. Art thou assaulted by Satan ? 
Cry with Paul, and bemoan thyself; but know therewith that God's ' grace 
is, and shall be sufficient for thee,' 2 Cor. xii. 9 ; that he hath overcome, 
and therefore resolve, with Job, to receive from God what he will put upon 
thee, yea, to die at his feet. Job xiii. 15. Art thou led captive with thy 
corruptions ? Mourn with Paul, but say withal, ' It is not I, but sin in 
me; I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord,' Romans vii. 17, 25. It 
is a most worthy service to give Christ the glory of his riches in poverty, 
of his power in weakness, grace in sin, life in death. Then we hve by 
faith, then we shew forth the strength of the Spirit. To this purpose, first 
learn to know thyself, what thou art by nature, and all men else. The 
want of this knowledge breeds pride, discouragement, error in judgment, 
mistaking, misapplication of things. Secondly, know what Christ is, how 
lovely, how rich, how able, how true ; how willing he is to help the dis- 
tressed and miserable, never adding affliction unto affliction. Thirdly, see 
what he hath done for others, for thyself heretofore. Now lay graces by 
infirmities with the church here, and when the devil upbraids thee with 
thy maims, look on thy cures ; when he sets before thee the tempestuous 
dark works of the first Adam, do thou oppose, and lay before thee the quiet 
fruit of righteousness and peace-making reconciUatiou and works of Christ, 
the second Adam, thy surety, who hath paid thy debts and satisfied divine 
justice to the full. 

Further, in that the church here stands upon her comeliness, notwith- 
standing of all her deformities and infirmities, learn we, 

Doct. 3. There is a glory and excellence in the saints of God in the midst 
of all their deformities and debasements. Though they be encompassed with 
many miseries, yet are they glorious even in this life. Indeed their glory 
is like Solomon's curtains, not obvious to every eye; like Kedar's tents, or 
a heap of wheat in the chaff, and outwardly base, laut inwardly excellent. 
Their life is sanctified indeed, and they live the life of grace, hence they 
are termed glory, Isaiah iv. 5 ; hence, as Ps. Ixviii. 13, after their misery, 
it is promised they should be as the wings of a dove, covered with silver, 
and her feathers with yellow gold ; hence, Ps. xlv. 16, they are called princes 
in all lands, all glorious within, to be of excellent beauty; hence. Ps. ex. 
3, their beauty is termed a holy beauty ; yea, that which is said of the 
church of Smyrna, Rev, ii. 9, may be said of every church, ' She is poor, 
* Cf. Judges xiii. and Ps. Ixxi. — G. 

THE church's blackness. 101 

but rich;' and that which Paul saith of the apostles may be said of all, 
they are poor and rich, base and honourable, dying and yet living, having 
nothing, and yet possessing all things, 2 Cor. iv. 8, et se.q. And why ? 

Beason 1. Needs it must be so, for being converted, they obtain a new 
name, Kev. ii. 17 ; yea, they have this peculiar favour granted, as 1 John 
iii. 1, to be called the ' sons of God.' This is set down with a ' behold,' 
to admire the wonderful love of God and excellency of the saints, who are 
also called princes on earth, as Ps. xlv. 16. 

2. Secondly, they have a new nature, being made partakers of the image 
of God, and so of the divine nature ; as it is, 2 Pet. i. 4, ' having escaped 
that corruption which is in the world through lust.' 

3. Thirdly, they have a new estate ; Christ Jesus makes them free, as 
John viii. 35, and he makes them also rich, supplying all their wants with 
the riches of his glory : as Ps. iv. 3, the prophet says, ' But know that the 
Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself,' &c. 

4. Lastly, they have a new kindred and guide. God is their Father, 
they are members of Christ: 1 Cor. xii. 13, they are ' led by the Spirit of 
God.' God dwelleth in them, and the Spirit of glory rests upon them 
even in affliction, 1 Pet. iv. 14, and fiUeth them with glorious faith and 
precious graces. 

[1.] This first discovers a wonderful blindness in ns, who can see no such 
matter in the saints of God. Christians shine in the world as stars in a 
dark night, and as far excel all others as corn weeds, chaff; yea, as far as 
lilies and roses do thorns and briars ; and yet we cannot see it, unless we 
have riches, titles, fashions, wit, beauty to grace them. We see no beauty 
in them, we do not regard nor reverence them, we neglect, nay, despise 
them. Oh hearts of flesh, oh carnal eyes, that can see nothing but out- 
ward gauds and toys ! How do we stick in the outward mud of this 
world, that serve only the world ! How do we judge by the outward ap- 
pearance ! How carnal to have the glorious faith of Christ in respect of 
persons ! Jude 16. How blind are we who cannot see the sunshine, and 
no excellency in those whom all the glorious angels serve, whom the King 
of glory terms ' the fairest of women !' Brethren, what shall I say to you? 
If your eyes be so blinded that you cannot see the church like Solomon's 
curtains, cannot see beauty in a Christian's face, wisdom in his language, 
glory in his behaviour, even in affliction; when their happiness is revealed, 
it will be a proof against you that you have not that anointing of God 
which teaches you all things, that you are but natural. Ask yourselves, 
therefore, the question, what men do I most admire, reverence, and who 
is most glorious in my eye? And if the Christian be not, you have but 
fleshly eyes, hearts, and aflections. Strive and labour reformation. 

[2,] Secondly, This is comfort to saints now and hereafter. Now they 
be glorious, but yet they are but in the way going to glory ; as Prov. iv. 
18, ' The path of the just is as the shining light' that waxeth more and 
more unto the perfect day.' Yet ' their life is hid with God in Christ.' 
When Christ, ' which is their life, shall appear, then shall they likewise 
appear in glory,' Col. iii. 3. Now they are the sons of God ; but it 
appeareth not in this world what they shall be ; and if they be now such, 
whilst black, what when in heaven, when Christ is made glorious in them ? 
If thus in their pilgrimage, what at home in their country ? If thus, 
imperfect, what in perfection ? If thus, in corruption, what when this 
corruption shall put on incorruption ? And if thus, in mortality, what 
when mortality shall be swallowed up of life ? 

102 THE church's blackness. 

Thus we have heard the church's apology for her blackness. The next 
verse, which I cannot now speak of as I would, contains the remainder of 
her answer, wherein she proceeds to shew thus much, that the church and 
Christians, even at the worst, are not to be despised for infirmities. This 
she takes for granted, as formerly proved, and then goes on to shew the 
causes which wrought her blackness and misery. 

1. First, outwardly ; The sun had parched her, that is, many afflictions 
had overtaken her ; and then, in her particular, her mother's sons had 
crossed her ; false hypocrites, erroneous, proud professors, carrying the 
name of brethren, had vilified and taken all occasions to put base drudgery 
upon her. 

2. The second cause was inward ; She kept not her own vineyard, that is, 
she did not husband her own soul aright ; she looked not to her own work 
and charge ; which words contain not an extenuation of her blackness, but 
an amplification of the causes of it rather. Thus you see the church's 
mind : she thinks men should rather comfort and encourage her, than 
despise her for her many afflictions, seeing she doth so freely confess them ; 
and those who are in misery ought to be comforted. Not to stand upon it : 
hence we learn, 

Doct. 4. We must not still be poring into the defomiities of God's church 
and people, like flies on galled places, or dogs upon garbage and raw flesh. 

Reason 1. First, This is a practice which utterly crosseth God in his 
commandments, who chargeth us ' not to despise the day of small things,' 
Zech. iv. 10. 

Reason 2. Secondly, This is quite against justice ; for Christians have 
beauty as well as blackness, graces as well as corruptions. 

Reason 3. Thirdly, This neither cometh from any good, nor worketh good. 
It ariseth from pride, ignorance, &c., and sheweth that a man neither knows 
his own estate, nor God's proceedings with his people, who brings them 
to honour through baseness, and confounds the glory of the world with 
base things. 

Use 1. This condemneth those Christians who have their eyes still upon 
the blackness of the church, who are of three sorts : 

First, papists, who deck a whore, and call her Christ's spouse, and in 
the mean time despise the church of Christ for blackness and outward defor- 

Secondly, against such who stum^ble as much at our inward deformities, 
as these at our outward debasements, at our discipline, preaching, ministry, 
sacraments, calling, ordinances, as though all were antichristian. Why 
will not such see white with black ? good with bad ? We confess that in 
our church, as in every church visible, there is corn and tares, fish, good 
and bad, sometimes children, sometimes bastards, only sons by the mothers' 
side : we never knew it otherwise in any church. 

Thirdly, This is against such as like bats can see to fly in the dark 
only. The prosperity of Christians they cannot see, or graces, nor com- 
forts, nor good works, to be provoked thereby to obedience ; but if any one 
be crossed in his profession, they speak of it ; if any fall into sin, they 
remember him ; if any sufi"er shipwreck, if any live less comfortably, or 
die less cheerfully, oh then there is work enough : who would be a Chris- 
tian ? How doth it make men mopish and lumpish, and bring men out of 
their wits ? And whence is all this ; but from ignorance or great hypo- 
crisy, or malice ? In love there is no such offence, as John speaks, and 

THE church's blackness. 103 

therefore to these the church speaks, * Look not upon me, because I am 
black, &c. 

A word only of the causes of her affliction, and so I have done — which 
came by her mother's sons, such as live in the church. So that we see 
the church hath those who afflict her and persecute her even within her- 
self. See for this point: Eebekah's sorrow and strugghng within her, 
two nations. Gen. xxv. 22, Next, see how they use her, and why ? They 
take her by violence, and force her to slavery, and exercise too much hard- 
ness over her ; and the reason that she apprehends is, the neglects in her 
own business ; lay these together : so we learn, 

Doct. 5. Then God's children pay for it, when they do not their own work, 
not keeping their own standing. It is with them as soldiers and scholars, 
when they keep not their own places, and learn not their own lessons : 
they are met with on every side. And that, 

Reason 1. First, because no man speeds well out of his own place, but 
Christians worst of all ; as Prov. xxvii. 8, a thousand inconveniences befall 
to one's self, to his charge, when absent. God will be upon him, and leave 
him to himself, till he hath wound himself into woeful brakes.* 

Reason 2. Secondly, Men will be upon his back, as Paul on Peter's, or 
else grow strange till he be humbled ; but bad men they will curse him, all 
the hypocrites in the town will be at his heels. 

Reason 3. Thirdly, The devil will be upon them, and having drawn them 
out of the way, will either still mislead them, or else cut their throats and 
steal all, or hold them, if possible he may, from returning unto God ; as in 
the prodigal son. 

Reason 4. Fourthly, Their own consciences will be upon them, and it is 
with them as with a child that plays truant, his heart throbs, he hath no 
peace: so a Christian, whether he prosper or not prospers, he hath no 
peace, he eats not, he sleeps not in peace. The uses briefly are two. 

Use 1. Is this true ? It first teacheth us to do as the church doth, to 
examine ourselves when troubles come, when the Lord sends officers to arrest 
us, sets dogs upon us to fetch us in. When we meet stirs and storms abroad, 
when wicked men bark and brawl, when they tyrannize and task, when good 
men look strangely on us, when God hides his face, and our consciences 
be not comfortable unto us, oh, then, let us ask ourselves the question, jwhere 
am I ? what have I done ? wherein have I been negligent ? This, this is 
that which God aimeth at. Therefore he makes our paths uncomfortable, 
to the end we should examine our vaunts ; therefore he turneth loose wicked 
men, that we might inquire. This is that which will work us patience in 
all provocations, drive us to repentance, and bring us home ; this will make 
one lay his face in the dust, and rather justify God, than charge him fool- 
ishly. Therefore let us not fret or chafe at men, their pride, malice, &c., 
but say, why doth living man fret ? He suffers for sin : Lament, iii. 1, et 
seq., say with the church here, ' I kept not mine own vine : and this hath 
hurt me.' And then howsoever God's people may sometimes smart for 
not keeping their vines, and performing their own duties ; yet those crosses 
sting not, but comfort ; they then ere long abound with joy, peace, increase 
of love and watchfulness, which are let in most an end by former negli- 
gences. God saw his people drowsy, worldly, secure, and therefore is con- 
strained to send persecution, so that if evils be upon us, we have cause to 
say, ' I kept not mine own vine ;' time was when I was idle all day in the 
vineyard, and did nothing, and yet I am too negligent. 
* That is, ' thickets ' = difficulties. — G. 

104 THE church's blackness. 

Use 2. Secondly, Here see uhat is the best ivay to prevent crosses. All 
crosses be rods, as Christ speaks in the gospel, and scourges. Now if a 
child will do well, what father will whip him ? If we will learn the lessons cf 
our salvation, Christ, God will not scourge us ; if we would follow the shep- 
herd and not stray, what need dogs run at us ? Why then, let us know 
the duties of our place and do them, and keep ourselves close to them, for 
all our safety, peace, comfort, lieth there. Our place is a ship on the seas. 
Now two ways we fail in our course. First, by out-running our callings. 
We grow too far over-busy, and indeed this is most incident to the church 
in her first beginning. She is then too nimble with others, and too busy ; 
her zeal, as she thinks, carries her captive. Secondly, by running too 
slowly. This is incident to Christians of riper years. After a while they 
slack, cooling apace, and it is with us as with children, so eager to go to 
school at first, that there is no quiet, but after hardly* drawn. So it is witk 
us. Amend, amend therefore these : turn neither to the right hand nor 
the left ; for if thou doest, thou art like to smart for it. Then up and 
upon your callings as Christians, as masters, as servants, as magistrates, 
as husbands, as wives. Every one hath a vine to look to, look to your 
callings ; and then whatsoever befall you, ' if you suffer not as evil doers, 
blessed are you,' 1 Peter iii. 14. 

* That'is, ' with difficulty.'— G. 


(a) P. 96. — ' They dwelt in tents, covered witli hair (as Solymus and [as] Pliny 
speaks).' The tents of the Kedaveens, a nomadic tribe of North Arabia (Gen. 
XXV. 13, Isa. xxi. 17), were and still are made of coarse cloth obtained from the 
shaggy hair of their black goats (Rosenmiiller, Orient, iv. 939 ; Saalschiitz, 
Archaologie der Hebraer, Erster Theil. p. 63). Cf. Guisburg among modern, and 
Robotham and Trapp among early, commentators »i loco. For Sibbes's references 
lo Pliny, see Natural History, lib. vi. c. 28; and for Solinus (not Solymus), c. 26; 
i.e., Caius Julius Solinus, who has been called the 'ape of Pliny,' for the large use 
he makes of that writer's works. Among the many services to our early English 
literature by Arthur Golding, was a translation — racy and finely touched — of 

(6) P. 96. — ' For the meaning, ... we will not be prejudicial to any man's 
opinion.' Commentators named in above, note a, will shew the various ' opinions,' 
— the Puritans having much quaint fancy, and not less quaint lore. G. 




'A Miracle of Miracles' originally appeared as a thin 4to, in 1638. The title- 
page is given below of the second edition (1656). It was appended to the Com- 
mentary upon 2 Corinthians chap. iv. See note Vol. IV., page 308. Cf. Memoir, 
Vol. I. pp. cxxv. for remarks of Fuller. G. 





Christ in our Nature. 

Wherein is contained 

The WonderfuU Conception, Birth, 

and Life of Christ, who in the fulnosse of 

time became man to satisfie divine Justice 

and to make reconciliation between 

God and Man. 

Preached to the honourable Society of 
Grayes Inne, by that godly and faithfull Mi- 
nister of Jesus Christ, Richard Sibbes, D.D. 
Phil. 2. 5. 
He made himself e of no reputation, and took upon him the 
forme of a servant, and was made in the likenesse of men. 


Printed by W. H. for John Rothwell, at the Sign 
of the Beare and Fountaine in Cheapside, 1656. 



The Lord himself shall give a sign ; behold a virgin shall conceive, and hear 
a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. — Isaiah VII. 14. 

The Jews at this time were in a distressed condition, by reason of the 
siege of two kings, Resin and Pekah : the one the king of Syria, the other 
the king of Israel. Whereupon the prophet labours to comfort them, and 
tells them that these two kings were but as two fire-brands, that should 
waste and consume themselves, and then go out. For confirmation thereof, 
because he saw the heart both of king and people astonished, he biddeth 
them ' ask a sign of things in heaven or earth.' No, saith king Ahaz, * I 
will not tempt God ; ' and making religion his pretence against religion, 
being a most wilful and wicked man, would not. 

For he had framed an altar according to the altar which be had seen at 
Damascus, neglecting God's altar at Jerusalem as too plain and homely. 

Man, unsubdued by the Spirit of God, admires the devices of men, and the 
fabric of his own brain. 

And though this king was so fearful, that his heart, and the rest of their 
hearts, were ' as the leaves in the forest,' shaking, and trembling, and 
quaking at the presence of their enemies, and though he was surprised 
with fear and hoi-ror, seeing God his enemy, and himself God's enemy, 
and that God intended him no good, yet he would go on in his own super- 
stitious course, having some secret confidence in league and affinity with 
other kings that were superstitious like himself. This, by the way. 

We may learn by this wretched king, that those that are least fearful 
before danger are most basehj fearful in danger. He that was so confident 
and wilful out of danger, in danger, his heart was ' as the leaves of the 
forest.' For a wicked man in danger hath no hope from God, and therefore 
is incapable of any intercourse with him. He will trust the devil and his 
instruments, led with a superstitious* spirit, rather than God : as this 
king had more confidence in the king of Syria, that was his enemy, and so 
shewed himself after, than in God. It is the nature of flesh and blood, 
being not sanctified by God, to trust in this means and that means, this 
carnal help and that carnal help, ' a reed of Egypt,' yea, the devil and lies, 
rather than to God himself. 

The prophet, in an holy indignation for the refusing of a sign to confirm 
* Cf. Acts xvii. 22.— G. 



his faith that these kings should not do the church harm, breaketh forth 
thus : Know, house of David, ' is it a small thing for you to weary men, 
but will you weary my God also ? ' God offers you a sign out of bis love, 
and you dislike and contemn his blessed bounty. Therefore ' the Lord 
himself shall give you a sign.' What is that? 'A virgin shall conceive, 
and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.' 

From the inference, we may see the conflict between the infinite goodness of 
God and the inflexible stubbornness of man ; God's goodness striving with 
man's badness. When they would have no sign, yet God will give them a 
sign. His goodness overcometh and out-wrestleth in the contention man's 
sinful strivings, his mercy prevails against man's malice. 

To come to the text itself. * Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a 
son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.' It was not so much a sign 
for the present, as a promise of a miraculous benefit, which was to be pre- 
sented almost eight hundred years after the prophet spake these words, 
even the incarnation of Christ, a miracle of miracles, a benefit of benefits, 
and the cause of all benefits. He fetcheth comfort against the present dis- 
tress from a benefit to come. And to shew how this can be a ground of 
comfort at this time of distress, ' that a virgin shall conceive,' we must 
know that * Christ was the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world,' 
Rev. xiii. 8. All the godly of the Jews knew it well enough, the Messiah 
being' all their comfort. They knew that he was ' yesterday and to-day, 
and shall be the same for ever.' The church had in all times comfort 
from Christ. Profuit anteqnam fuit : he did good before he was exhibited 
in the world. 

And thus the prophet applies the comfort to the house of David : * A 
virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and they shall call his name 
Immanuel, who shall be of the family of David.' And therefore the house 
of David shall not be extinct and dissolved. The reason is strong. You 
of the house of David are in fear that your kingdom and nation shall be 
destroyed ; but know that the Messiah must come of a virgin, and of the 
house of David. And considering this mus certainly come to pass, why 
do ye fear, ye house of David ? 

Again, it hath force of a reason thus. The promise of our Messiah is 
the grand promise of all, and the cause of all promises ; for all promises 
made to the church, are either promises of Christ himself, or promises in 
him and for his sake, because he takes all promises from God, and con- 
veyeth them, and maketh them good to us. God maketh them, and per- 
formeth them in Chi'ist and for Christ. 

Now the reason stands thus, if God will give a Messiah, that shall be the 
' son of a virgin,' and ' Emmanuel,' certainly he will give you deliverance. 
He that will do the greater will do the less. What is the deliverance you 
desire to the promised deliverance from hell and damnation, and to the 
benefit by the Messiah, which you profess to hope for and believe ? 

The apostle himself, Rom. ii. 8, reasons thus : ' God, that spared not 
his own Son, but gave him to death for us all, how shall not he with him 
give us all things ? ' If God will give Christ to be Emmanuel and incarnate, 
he will not stand upon any other inferior promises or mercies whatsoever. 

Obj. But you will say, this promise was to come ; and how could this 
confirm their faith for the present, that they should not be destroyed ? 

Ans. I answer. In regard of his taking our nature, he was ' to come,' 
yet Christ was always with his church before. They understood him in 
the 'manna;' he was the 'angel of the covenant.' They that were 


spiritually wise amongst the Jews, understood that he was the rock that 
went before them. 

And again, it is usual in Scripture to give signs from things to come, as 
Isa. xxxvii. 30, 'The next year thou shalt eat that which groweth of itself,' 
&c., because where faith is, it maketh things ' to come ' all one as if they 
were present. 

And so we should make this use of the grand promises of Christ to com- 
fort us against all petty matters and wants whatsoever. And to reason 
with the holy apostle, ' God spared not his only begotten Son, but gave 
him to death.' He hath given Christ, and will he not give things needful? 
Hath he given the greater, and will he stand with thee for"" the less? 
This is a blessed kind of reasoning. And so to reason from other grand 
things promised. God shall raise my body out of the dust and the grave, 
and cannot he raise my body out of sickness, and my state out of trouble ? 
Cannot he raise the church out of misery ? So saith St Paul, 2 Cor. i. 9 
* God that raised Christ, restored me again, that had received the sentence 
of death.' When we receive sentence of death in our persons, look to him 
that raised Christ from the dead, and to the grand promises to come. 
They before Christ comforted themselves in times of all distress by the 
grand promise of Christ ' to come.' Eut now the Messiah is come. And 
which may much more strengthen our faith, he hath suffered, and given his 
body to death for us ; and therefore, why doubt we of God's good will in 
any petty matters whatsoever. 

To come to the words more particularly, ' Behold, a virgin shall con- 
ceive, and bear a son,' &c. 

You have diverse articles of our faith in these few words. As Christ's 
conception by the Holy Ghost, his being bom of the Virgin 3Iary,' &c. You 
have here the human nature of Christ, ' A virgin shall conceive, and bear a 
son.' And the divine nature of Christ, his name shall be calledEmmauuel, 
which signifieth also his office, ' God with us ' by nature, and God with us by 
office, to set God and us at one. So you have divers points of divinity 
couched in the words, which I will only open suitable to the occasion. 

'Behold.' This is the usual beacon set up, the usual harbinger to 
require our attendance* in all matters concerning Christ. And it hath a 
threefold force here. 'Behold,' as being a thing presented to the eye of 
faith. He mounteth over all the interim between the promise and the 
accomplishment, for faith knoweth no difference of times. 

2. And then, it is to raise attention. ' Behold ;' it is a matter of great 

3. And not only attention, but likewise admiration. f 'Behold,' a 
strange and admirable thing. For what stranger thing is there than that 
a virgin should conceive, that a virgin should ^be a mother, and that God 
should become man. 

We had need of strong grace to apprehend these strange things. And 
therefore God hath provided a grace suitable, above reason, and above 
nature, and that is faith. Reason mocketh at this. The devil knoweth it 
and envieth it. The angels know, and wonder at it. The soul itself 
without a grace suitable to the admirableness of the thing, can never 
apprehend it. And therefore, well may it be said, ' Behold, a virgin shall 
conceive, and bear a son.' 

' Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear.' And why a virgin ? When 
God is to be born, it is fit for a virgin to be the mother. Christ was not 
* That is, ' attention.'— G. t That is, ' wonder.'— G. 


to come by the ordinary way of propagation. He was to conxQ from Adam, 
but not h]i Adam ; for he was to be sanctified by the Holy Ghost. Because 
he was indeed to be a sacrifice, and he must be without spot or sin himself, 
that was to ofier himself for the sins of others. Therefore the foundation 
and ground of his nature must be pure and clean ; and that is the founda- 
tion of all the purity of his life and conversation, and therefore a virgin. 

This was typified in Aaron's rod, which budded though it had no root. 
No juice could come from a dry stick, jei by an almighty power the rod 
did bud. And so Moses's bush. It burned and did not consume. And 
that God that caused those things, caused a virgin to be a mother. 

He enters into the womb of a virgin without any defilement at all, con- 
sidering the Holy Ghost, from the Father and the Son, did purge and 
purify and sanctify that mass whereof the blessed body of our Saviour was 
made. The virgin aflbrded the matter, but the wise framer was the Holy 
Ghost. She was passive, the Holy Ghost was the agent. 

Now, when did the virgin conceive ? When upon the angel's coming 
to her and telling her ' that she was greatly beloved,' and that she should 
conceive ; she assented, ' Be it so as the Lord hath spoken,' Luke i. 38. 
When she assented to the word, presently Christ was conceived ; her faith 
and her womb conceived together. When her heart did conceive the truth 
of the promise, and yielded assent thereunto, her womb conceived at the 
same time also. 

Obs. From hence learn something for ourselves : It had been to little pur- 
pose though a virgin conceived Christ, unless Christ had been conceived like- 
wise in her heart. And there is no benefit by virtue of this conception to 
others, but to such as conceive Christ in their hearts also. 

To which end our hearts must be in some measure made virgin hearts, 
pure hearts, hearts fit to receive Christ. 

We must assent to promises of pardon and of life everlasting : ' Be it 
as the Lord saith.' A Christian is a Christian, and Christ liveth in his 
heart, at the time of the assenting to the promise. So that if you ask. 
When doth Christ first live in a Christian's heart ? I answer, then, when 
the heart yieldeth a firm assent to the gracious promises made in Christ 
for the pardoning of sins and acceptation to the favour of God, and title 
and interest to life everlasting. For faith is the birth of the heart. 

Christ was conceived in the womb of an humble and believing virgin. 
So that heart that will conceive Christ aright, must be a humble and 
believing heart : humble, to deny himself in all things ; and believing, to 
go out of itself to the promises of God in Christ. When God by his 
Spirit hath brought our hearts to be humble and believing, to go out of 
themselves and believe in him, rest upon him and his promises, then Christ 
is conceived in our heart. 

' Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and hear a son.' Here is the birth of 
Christ as well as the conception. Christ must not only be conceived in 
the womb, but also brought forth, because God must be manifested in the 
flesh ; as St Paul saith, ' Great is the mystery of godliness, God manifested 
in the flesh,' 1 Tim. iii. 16. If he had only been conceived, and not brought 
forth, he had not been manifested. He was to do all things that befitted a 

And therefore he went along with us in all the passages of our lives. 
He was conceived as we are, remained in the womb so many months, born 
as we are born, brought into the light as we are ; away therefore with idle, 
monkish devices and fond conceits, that affirm the contrary ! 


He was like to us in all things, ' sin excepted ;' conceived, brought forth, 
bung upon the breast as we, an infant as we ; hungry, and thirsty, and suf- 
fered as we. 

And as he was in all things like to us, so in everything that was in him 
there was something extraordinary ; as he was a man like to us, so he was 
an extraordinary man. He was conceived, but of a virgin, which is extra- 
ordinary. He was born as we are, but there his star appeared, and the 
wise men came to adore and worship him. He was poor as we are, but 
there were beams of his Godhead appeared. When he was poor, ' he 
could command a fish to furnish him,' Mat. xvii. 27. He died as we die, 
but he made the ' earth to quake, the veil of the temple to rend,' when 
he triumphed on the cross. Mat. xxvii. 51. All which declared he was 
more than an ordinary person. 

And so we must all conceive Christ, and bear Christ in our words and 
actions. It must appear that Christ liveth in us ; it must appear out- 
wardly to man what we are inwardly to God. Our whole outward life 
must be nothing but a discovery of Christ living in us. * I live, yet not I, 
but Christ liveth in me,' saith St Paul, Gal. ii. 20; which should appear 
by word, conversation, and action. Our lives should be nothing but an 
acting of Christ living in our souls. 

This is not a mere analogical truth, but it floweth naturally. Whoso- 
ever are to have the benefit of his birth and conception, Christ sendeth 
into'' their heart the same Spirit that sanctified the mass whereof he was 
made, and so frameth a disposition suitable to himself. He sets his own 
stamp upon the heart. As the union of his human nature to the divine 
was the cause of all other graces of his human nature, so the Spirit of 
God, uniting us to Christ, is the cause of all grace in us. If we have not 
the Spirit of Christ, we are none of his. 

* And shall call his name Emmanuel.' Many things might be observed 
concerning the ordinary reading of the words. Some read, ' She shall call 
his name Emmanuel,' because he had no father ; others, ' His name shall 
be called Emmanuel ;' but they be doubtful, therefore I leave them (a). 

But * Jesus ' was his name ; therefore how can it be said, he shall be 
called ' Emmanuel' ? 

The meaning is, he shall be 'Emmanuel,' and shall be accounted and 
believed to be so ; he shall be God with us indeed, and shall shew himself 
to be so ; for in the Hebrew phrase, the meaning of a thing imports the 
being of the thing. The like phrase is in Isa. ix. 6, * To us a child is 
born, to us a son is given ; and his name shall be called Wonderful, 
Counsellor, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace ;' that is, * He 
shall be believed to be so, and shall shew himself to be so, and shall be so 
indeed.' The like you have, because it is an answer to the cavil of the 
Jews, which object he was not called ' Emmanuel :' * Judah shall be saved, 
Israel shall dwell safely ; and this is his name, whereby he shall be called, 
The Lord our righteousness,' Jer. ii. 3. For indeed he is Jehovah our 
righteousness, and we have no righteousness to stand before God with but 
his. Divers other places of Scripture there be of the same nature ; but 
these two are pregnant, and therefore I name them for all the rest. 

Besides the conception and birth of Christ, you have here likewise the 
divine nature of Christ and the offices of Christ ; for Emmanuel is a name 
both of nature and office. 

It is a name of his nature, God and man ; and of his office, which is to 
* Qu. ' naming ' ? — Ed. 


reconcile God and man. We could not be ' with God,' but God must first 
be 'man with us.' We were once with God in Adam, before he fell; but 
there being a breach made, we cannot be recovered again till God be with 
us. He must take our natures, that he may reconcile our persons. 

Now, Christ is ' Emmanuel ;' first, in regard nf naturr, ' God with us,' 
or God in our nature. The pure nature of God, and the base nature of 
man, that were strangers ever since the fall, are knit together in Christ. 
What can be in a greater degree of strangeness, except the devil's, than 
men's unholiness and God's pure nature ? Yet the nature of man and of 
God being so severed before, are met together in one Christ; so that in 
this one word 'Emmanuel' there is heaven and earth, God and man, 
infinite and finite ; therefore we may well prefix ' behold.' 

A true Saviour of the world must be ' God with man, whether we 
consider the greatness of the good we are to have by a Saviour, or the 
greatness of the evil we are to be freed from by a Saviour, both which do 
enforce that he must be Emmanuel, God with us. 

I. (1.) First, The greatness of the good which we are to have, for he is 
to be God and man together, to satisfy the wrath of God, to undergo a 
punishment due to sin as our surety. He must give us title to heaven, 
and bring us thither, and who can do this but God ? 

(2.) Besides, secondly, he must know our hearts, our wants, our griefs, 
our infirmities ; he must be everywhere to relieve us ; and who can do this 
but God ? 

(3.) So, thirdly, in regard of evil, which we are to be freed from. He 
is to defend us in the midst of our enemies ; and who is above the devil, 
and sin, and the wrath of God, and all the oppositions that stand between 
us and heaven, but God ? So in regard of the good, in regard of the evil, 
and in regard of the preservation to an eternal good estate, and freedom 
from eternal evil, he must be ' Emmanuel, God with us.' 

These grand principles are enough to satisfy in this point. 

II. And, secondly, as he must be God, so there was a necessity of his 
being man. Man had sinned, and man must sufier for sin, and 'without 
blood there was no remission,' Heb. ix. 22 ; and then, that he might be 'a 
merciful and pitiful Saviour,' Heb. ii, 17, he must take that nature on him 
that he meaneth to save. There must be a suitableness and sympathy; 
suitableness, that the head and the members, the sanctified and the sanc- 
tiner, may be both of one nature ; and a sympathy, that he might be 
touched with human infirmities. 

III. Thirdly, This God and man must be one person ; for if there were 
two persons, God one distinct person and man another, then there were 
two Christs, and so the actions of the one could not be attributed to the 

As man died and shed his blood, it could not have been said that God 
died; but because there was but one person, God is truly said to die, 
though he died in man's nature, for he took man's nature into unity with 
his person ; and whatsoever either nature did, the whole person is said to 
do ; and therefore Christ is a Saviour according to both natures, as God 
and as man ; for he was to sufier, and he was to overcome, and satisfy in 
sufiering. He was not only to hear our prayers, but to answer them. 
Both natures had an ingredience* into all the work of mediation. 

God died, and God sufiered, and supported the manhood, that it might 
uphold the burden of the wrath of God, that it might not sink under it. 
* That is, 'entrance.' — G. 


And so in all bis actions there was concurrence of divinitj' and humanity ; 
the meaner works being done by the manhood, the greater works by the 
Godhead, so making one ' Emmanuel, God with us.' 

For God must bring us to heaven by a way suitable to his holiness, 
and therefore by way of satisfaction ; and that cannot be but by God equal 
with himself. 

And that is the reason why the apostle joins together ' without Christ, 
without God,' Eph. iii. 12; that is, they that know not Christ God-man, 
to reconcile God and man, have nothing to do with God. For the pure 
nature of God, what hath it to do with the impure nature of man, without 
Emmanuel, without him that is God-man, to make satisfaction ? 

But now that Christ hath taken our nature, it is become pure in him, 
and beloved of God in him. And God in him is become lovely, because 
he is our nature; yea, in Christ, God is become a Father: 'I go to your 
Father, and my Father,' John xiv. 28. His nature is sweet to us in 
Christ; our nature is sweet to him in Christ; God loveth not our nature, 
but first in him in whom it is pure. And then he loveth our nature in us, 
because, by the Spirit of Christ, he will make our natures like to Christ's; 
and therefore we may conceive of God as Emmanuel, God well pleased 
with us, and we well pleased with him. Out of Christ we are angry wi.h 
God, and he angry with us. We could wish there were no God, and 
choose rather to submit to the devil, to be led by his spirit to all profane- 
ness and licentiousness. We have a rising against God and his image ; 
and whatever comes from God, the proud, unmortified heart of man 
swelleth against it. But when the heart once believeth that Christ, 
Emmanuel, God with us, hath satisfied God's justice, now, God is taken 
by the believing heart to be a Father ' reconciled in Jesus Christ,' 2 Cor. 
V. 18. And we are taught to be his sons. And our nature is more and 
more purified and cleansed, and made like the pure nature of Christ; and 
so by Httle and little the terms between God and us are more sweet, till 
we get to heaven, where our nature shall be absolutely perfect and purged 
by the Holy Spirit. So that he is Emmanuel, God with us, to make God 
and us friends, which is two ways : first, by satisfaction, taking away the 
wrath of God; and then, secondly, by the Spirit; for God sendeth his 
Spirit into our hearts, to fit us for friendship and communion with him, 
when we have something of God in us. 

From hence many things may be spoken, partly for instruction and com- 
fort. I will name a few. 

1. First of all, it is to be wondered at, and we cannot wonder enough, 
though we were angels, and had natures larger than they are, at the viar- 
relloiis vxercies and love of God, that ivould stoop so loiv, as that God in the 
second person should take our nature and become one with us. It is 
marvellous love that he would be one with us by such a means as his own 
Son, to make peace between him and us. It is a marvellous condescend- 
ing and stooping in the Son to take our nature. When there be better 
creatures above us, that he would let pass all above us, and take our 
nature, that is dust, into unity of his person ; that earth, flesh and blood, 
should be taken into one person with the Godhead, it is wonderful and 

He took not the nature of angels ; so that we be above angels, by the 
incarnation of Christ. Because he took not the angels' nature, they are 
not the spouse of Christ, but every believing Christian is the spouse of 
Christ. He is married to Christ; he is the head, we the members. He 



is the husband, we the spouse ; and therefore we may stand in admiration 
of the love of God, in taking our natures on him. 

It requires hearts warmed by the Spirit of God to think of and admire 
these things answerable to their natures. The angels, when Christ was 
born, could not contain, but break out, ' Glory to God on high, on earth 
peace, good will towards men,' Luke ii. 13, 14, because there was then 
peace; peace between God and us, and by consequence with all the crea- 
tures, which do but take part with God and revenge his quarrel. 

These things be matters of admiration ; and we shall spend eternity in 
admiration thereof in another world, though here our narrow hearts can 
hardly conceive it. But what we cannot believe by understanding, as 
things above nature, let us labour to understand them by believing. 
Desire God we may believe them, and then we shall understand them to 
our comfort. 

* Emmanuel, God with us.' If God be with us in our nature, then he 
is with us in his love; * and if God be with us, who shall be against us ?' 
Rom. viii. 31. For this Emmanuel hath taken our nature forever; he 
hath taken it into heaven with him. God and we shall for ever be in 
good terms, because God in our nature is for ever in heaven, as an inter- 
cessor appearing for us. There is no fear of a breach now ; for our 
Brother is in heaven, our Husband is in heaven, to preserve an everlast- 
ing union and amity between God and us. Now, we may insult* in an 
holy manner over all oppositions whatsoever. For if God be w^ith us in 
our nature, and by consequence in favour, who shall be against us ? and 
therefore with the apostle, ' let us triumph,' Rom. viii. 87, seq. 

Let us make use of this Emmanuel in all troubles whatsoever, whether 
of the church or of our own persons. In troubles of the church ; the 
church hath enemies, hell, and the world, and Satan's factors; but we 
have one, Emmanuel, God with us, and therefore we need not fear. You 
know whose ensign it is, whose motto. Dens nobiscum is better than Saiuta 
Maria. Saiicta Maria will down when Dens nohiscum shall stand (h). 

I beseech you, therefore, let us comfort ourselves in regard of the 
church, as the prophet in the next chapter, verse 7, comforts the church 
in distress : ' He shall pass through Judah ; he shall overflow and go over ; 
he shall reach even to the neck : and the stretching out of his wings shall 
fill the breadth of thy laud,f Emmanuel.' It may seem a kind of com- 
plaint, ' The enemy stretcheth out their wings over thy land, Emmanuel;' 
which may teach us in the person of the church to go to Emmanuel : 
Remember the enemies of thy church spread their wings over thy land and 
people; Emmanuel, thou seest the mahce of the enemy, the malice of 
antichrist and his supporters. He is the true Michael, that stands for his 
church. And then in the tenth verse, ' Take counsel together, and it shall 
come to nought ; speak the word, and it shall not stand : for God is with 
us.' And as the church before Christ came in the flesh, much more may 
we, now he is come in the flesh, insult over all. Let all the enemies con- 
sult together, this king and that power, there is a counsel in heaven will 
disturb and dash all their counsels. Emmanuel in heaven laugheth them 
to scorn. And as Luther said, ' Shall we weep and cry when God 
laugheth ?'|. He seeth a company of idolatrous wretches, that conspire 
together to root out all protestants from the earth, if it lay in their power. 
They that are inspired with Jesuitical spirits, the incendiaries of the world, 

* Tliat is, 'triumph.'— G. t Cf. Vol. I. page 126.— G. 

t In marj^in, ' churcb.' — G. 


have devoured all Israel and Christendom in their hopes ; but the church, 
which is Emmanuel's land and freehold, sees it, and laughs them to scorn. 
God can dash all their treacherous counsels. 

And so in all personal trouble whatsoever, * Emmanuel, God with us,' 
is fitted to be a merciful Saviour. He was poor, that he might be with 
the poor. He took not on him an impassible nature, but he took our 
poverty, our miserable nature. He is poor with the poor, afiiicted with 
the afflicted, persecuted with the persecuted. He is deserted with them 
that be deserted : ' My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ? ' He 
suffers with them that suffer ; he hath gone through all the passages of 
our lives. In the beginning of it he was conceived and born ; and he hath 
gone along with us, and is able to pity and succour us in our poverty, in 
prison, in bonds, in disgrace, in our conflict with God, in our terror of 
conscience, in all our temptations and assaults by Satan. He was tempted 
himself by Satan, for this purpose, that Emmanuel might in all these be 

Let us not lose the comforts of this sweet name, in which you have 
couched so many comforts. In the hour of death, when we are to die, 
think of Emmanuel. When Jacob was to go into Egypt, saith God, 
' Fear not, Jacob ; go, I will go with thee, and bring thee back again,' 
Gen. xlvi. 3; and he did bring him back to be buried in Canaan. So fear 
not to die ; fear not to go to the grave, Emmanuel hath been there. He 
will go into the grave ; he will bring us out of the dust again ; for ' Em- 
manuel' is ' God with us,' who is God over death, over sin, over the wrath 
of God, God over all, blessed for evermore ; and hath triumphed over all. 
So that ' what shall separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus ? ' 
Rom. viii. 35. 

He is not only God with us in our nature, but he is God for us in 
heaven at all times. He is God in us by his Spirit. He is God amongst 
us in our meetings : ' Where two or three be gathered together in my 
name, I will be in the midst of them,' Mat. xviii. 20. He is God for us 
to defend us, for he is for us in earth, for us in heaven, and wheresoever 
we be, specially in good causes. And therefore enlarge our comforts as 
much as we can. 

And shall not we then labour to be with him, as much as we can ? All 
spirits that have any comfort by this Emmanuel, they are touched on by 
his Spirit, to have desires to be nearer and nearer to him. 

How shall I know he is my Emmanuel, not only ' God with us,' but 
God with me ? If by the same Spirit of his that sanctified his human 
nature, I have desires to be nearer and nearer to him, to be liker and liker 
to him ; if I am on his side ; if I be near him in my affections, desires, 
and understanding; if I side not against the church, nor join in opposition 
against the gospel ; if I find inwardly a desire to be more and more with 
him, and like to him ; if outwardly, in the place where I live, I side with 
him, and take part with his cause: it is a sign I have interest in him. 
And therefore let us labour to be more and more with Christ and with 
God in love and affections, in faith, in our whole inward man, because he 
is in us. 

We must know this Emmanuel doth trust us with his cause, to speak a 
good word for him now and then, to speak a word for his church, and he 
takes it ill if we neglect him : ' Curse ye Meroz, because he came not out 
to help the Lord,' Judges v. 23. God trusteth us, to see if we will be on 
his side ; and calls to us, as Jehu did, * Who is on my side ? who ?' 


2 Ivingg ix. 32. Now, if we have not a word for the church, not so much 
as a prayer for the church, how can we say, ' God with us,' when we are not 
used to speak to God by way of prayer, nor to man but by way of opposi- 
tion and contestation ? By this therefore examine the truth of our interest 
in Christ. 

Those that intend to receive the communion must think, Now, I am to 
be near unto Christ, and to feast with him. Christ is with us in his word, 
in the sacrament. There is a near relation between the bread and the 
wine, and the body and blood of Christ. Now, the true child of God is 
glad of this most special presence of Christ. All true receivers come with 
joy to the sacrament. Oh, I shall have communion with Emmanuel, who 
left heaven, took my nature into a more near hypostatical union, the 
nearest union of all ; and shall not I desire the nearest union with him 
again that can be possible ? Oh, I am glad of the occasion, that I can 
hear his word, pray to him, receive the sacrament. Thus let us come 
with joy, that we may have communion with this Emmanuel, who hath 
such sweet communion with our nature, that our hearts may be as the 
Virgin's womb was to conceive Christ. I beseech you, enlarge these 
things in your meditations. 

And because we know not how long we may live here, gome of us be 
sick, and weak, and all of us may fall into danger we know not how soon, 
let it be our comfort that God is Emmanuel. He left heaven, and took 
our nature to bring us thither, where himself is. When times of dissolu- 
tion come, consider, I am now going to him to heaven, that came down 
from thence to bring me to that eternal mansion of rest and glory. And 
shall not I desire an everlasting communion with him ? God became 
man that he might make man like God, partaking of his divine nature, in 
grace here and glory hereafter. Shall not I go to him that suffered so 
much for me ? Therefore saith St Paul, ' I desire to be dissolved, and to 
be with Christ,' Philip, i. 23; which is the eflect of Christ's prayer, 
* Father,' saith he, ' my will is, that where I am they may be also, 
John xvii. 24. And in this God heareth Christ, that all that believe in him 
shall be where Christ is, as he came down from heaven to be where we 
are. Lay up these things in your hearts, that so you may receive benefit 
by them. 


(a) P. 110, — ' Many things might be observed concerning the ordinary reading ol 
the words.' Cf. Dr Joseph Addison Alexander, Dr Henderson, and Maurer in loco, 
for the different readings and interpretations. 

(b) P. 114. — ' You know whose ensign it is, whose motto, Deus nohiscum is better 
than Sancta Maria.' "Watchwords of the English and Spaniards respectively in the 
war of the Armada. 'G 



Behold, a virgin shall coyiceive, and hear a son, and shall call his name 
Immanuel. — Isaiah VII. 14. 

The occasion of these words we have heard. The church was in great dis- 
tress under two mighty kings, that threatened great matters ; but indeed 
were but two smoking firebrands, that went out of themselves. Ahaz, being 
a wicked king (and wickedness being always full of fears, fearful in trouble, 
though not before trouble, for they that be least fearful of trouble be most 
fearful in trouble), and God intending comfort to the church, the prophet 
bids him ask a sign. Ahaz, out of guiltiness of conscience and stubborn- 
ness together, would ask none. God intended to strengthen his faith, and 
he would not make advantage of the offer ; and therefore the prophet pro- 
miseth a sign, the grand sign, the sign of all signs, the miracle of all 
miracles, the incarnation of the Messiah. 

Doct. By the way, I beseech you let me observe this : It is atheistical pro- 
faneness to desjnse any help, that God in his wisdom thinketh necessary to 
prop and shore*' our weak faith withal. And therefore, when many out of 
confidence of their own graces and parts refuse the sacrament, — God know- 
ing better than ourselves we need it, — unless it be at one time of the year, 
and refuse the other ordinance of preaching, which God hath sanctified, 
they seem to know themselves better than God, who out of knowledge of 
our weakness, hath set apart these means for the streuRthening of our 
graces. And as Ahaz, refusing God's help, provoked God by it, so these 
must know they shall not escape without judgment, for it is a tempting of 
God, and proceedeth from a bad spirit of pride and stubbornness. 

How this promise of the Messiah could be a sign to them to comfort 
them, we spake at large. We will now deliver something by way of addi- 
tion and explication. 

The house of David was afraid they should be extinct by these two great 
enemies of the church ; but, saith he, ' A virgin of the house of David 
shall conceive a son,' and how then can the house of David be extinct ? 
Secondly, heaven hath said it ; earth cannot disanul it. God hath said it, 
and all the creatures in the world cannot annihilate it. It was the promise 
made to Adam, when he was fallen. It run along to Abraham, and after- 
wards to the patriarchs ; so that it must needs be so. 
* That is, ' support.' — G. 


It was tlie custom of the men of God, led by the Spirit of God, in these 
times, in any distress, to have recourse to the promise of the Messiah, as for 
other ends, so for this, to raise themselves up by an argument drawn from 
the greater to the less. God will give the Messiah, God will become man. 
* A virgin shall conceive a son ;' and therefore he will give you less mercies. 

I note this by the way for this end, to teach us a sanctified manner of 
reasoning. Was it a strong argument before Christ's coming, the Messiah 
shall come, and therefore we may expect inferior blessings ? And shall 
not we make use of the same reason, now Christ is come in the flesh, and 
is triumphant in heaven ? ' God having given Christ, will he not give all 
things necessary whatsoever ?' Eom. viii. 32. Shall the reasonings before 
Christ's coming be of more force than these be, now Christ is come, and 
is in glory, appearing in heaven for us. 

Beloved, it should be a shame to us, that we should not have the sancti- 
fied art of reasoning, to argue from the gift of Christ, to the giving of all 
things needful for us. 

The ground of this reason is this. All other promises, whatsoever they 
are, are secondary to the grand fundamental promise of Christ. All pro- 
mises issue from a covenant founded in God-man. Now covenants come 
from love ; and love is founded in the first person, loved, and the founda- 
tion of all love. Therefore, if God giveth Christ the foundation of love, 
and out of love makes a covenant, and as branches of the covenant giveth 
many 'promises, then, having made good the main promise of all, Jesus 
Christ, will he not make good all the rest ? And therefore we should have 
often in our hearts and thoughts, the accomplishment of all promises in 
Christ, and from thence make use of the expectation of all inferior pro- 
mises ; for they issue from that love of God in Christ, which is fully mani- 
fested already. 

We have spoken of the preface, ' Behold,' which is a word usually pre- 
fixed before all the passages of Christ ; his birth, his resurrection, his 
coming again. And great reason. 

For what do we usually behold with earnestness ? Rare things, new 
things, great things, especially if they be great to admiration, and that 
concern us nearly ; useful things, especially if they be present. And is 
any thing rarer than that, * A virgin shall conceive, and bear a son ' ? Then 
the incarnation of Christ. Never was the like in nature, never the like in 
heaven or earth, that God and man should be in one person. It is a rare 
thing, a new thing, it is great to wonderment ; and therefore in the ninth 
chapter of this prophecy, ' His name shall be called Wonderful,' Isa. is. 6, 
as in many other respects, so wonderful in his conception and birth. 

And then all is for us. * To us a child is born, to us a Son is given,' in 
the same chapter. For us, and for us men, he came down from heaven. 
And then to the eye of faith all these things are present. Faith knoweth 
no difierence of time. 

Christ is present to the eye of faith now. We see him sacrificed in the 
sacrament and in the word. Faith knoweth no distance of place, as well 
as no distance of time. We see him in heaven, as St Stephen, sitting at 
the right hand of God for the good of his church. Acts vii. 56 ; and there- 
fore ' behold.' 

If ever any thing were, or shall be great, from the beginning of the world 
to eternity, this is great, this is wonderful. And if any thing in the world 
be fit for us ; and if any thing dignifieth the soul, and raiseth the soul 
above itself, it is this wonderful object. 


We, out of our weakness, wonder at poor petty things, as the disciples 
at the building of the temple, ' What stones are these ?' Mat. xiii. 1. We 
wonder at the greatness of birth and place, but, alas ! what is fit for the 
soul, being a large and capable thing, to stand in admiration of? Here is 
that that transcendeth admiration itself. * Behold, a virgin shall conceive 
a son ;' and therefore attend to the great matter in hand. This I thought 
good to add to what I formerly delivered in that particular. 

* A virgin shall conceive a son,' &c. 

You need not go farther than the text for wonders ; for here are two 
great ones, a virgin a mother, and God man. 

So in the words you have the conception and the hhth of Christ, his 
human nature, his divine nature and his office, to reconcile God and us 
in one. 

As he is God in our nature — he took our nature into communion of per- 
son — so his office is to bring God and man together ; his two natures is 
to fit him for his office. God and man were as much distant terms as could 
be, unless between the devil and God. And therefore God-man in one 
person must perform the great office of bringing such as were in such oppo- 
site terms together. 

Of his conception by the Virgin Mary we spake sufficiently, only we will 
add this for further explication. A further type of this was in the birth of 
Isaac. Isaac, you know, was born of a dead womb. Christ was conceived 
of a virgin, and in a manner far more improbable than the other. Isaac 
was the ' son of the promise,' Christ was ' the promised seed,' both in 
some sort miraculously born ; for indeed it was a true wonder that Isaac 
should be born of a dead womb, and here that a virgin should conceive. 
Sarah had nothing to supply moisture and juice to the fruit ; and so here 
was nothing of a man to further Christ's conception. 

I will shew why there must be this kind of conception of Christ, which 
will help our faith exceedingly. 

1. First, Christ must be without all sin. of necessitij ; for else when he 
took our nature, stubble and fire had joined together. * God is a con- 
suming fire,' Heb. xii. 29 ;' and therefore the nature must be purified and 
sanctified by the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin. 

2. And then again, in the conception, there must be ^foundation of all 
obedience, active and passive, and of all that was afterwards excellent in 
Christ. If there had been any blemish in the foundation, which was his 
conception, if he had not been pure, there had been defect in all that 
issued from him, his active obedience and passive obedience, for every 
thing savours of the principle from whence it cometh. And therefore it was 
God's great work in this strange conception, that sin might be stopped in 
the root and beginning ; nature might be sanctified in the foundation of it. 
And so that he might pursue sin from the beginning to the end, both in 
his life, by living without sin, and also in his death, by making satisfaction 
for sin. 

And therefore ground our faith on this, that our salvation is laid on one 
that is mighty, God-man, and on one that is pure and holy. And there- 
fore in his obedience active, holy ; and in his obedience passive, holy. 

Again, He came to be a surety for us ; and therefore he must pay our 
whole debt, he must pay the debt of obedience ; he must pay the debt of 
punishment. Now obedience must come from a pure nature, and his death 
must extend to the satisfying of an infinite justice. And therefore he must 
be conceived of the Holy Ghost in the womb of a pure virgin. 


And we must know that in this conception of Christ there were two or 
three things wherein there was a main difference between Christ and us. 

(1.) Christ was in his human nature altogether without sin. We are 
sinful in our nature. 

(2.) Again, Christ's human nature had always suhsistence in the divine, 
and it was never out of the divine nature. As soon as his body and 
soul were united, it was the body and soul of God. Now our natures are 
not 80. 

(3.) And then in manner of projyagation. His was extraordinary alto- 
gether. Adam was of the earth, neither of man, nor woman ; Eve of man, 
without a woman ; all other of Adam and Eve ; Christ of a virgin, and 
without a man. But setting aside his subsistence in the second person, 
and extraordinary means of propagation, Christ and we are all one ; he 
had a true human body and soul, and all things like ourselves, sin and the 
former differences excepted. 

Why Christ must be man we have already heard. He became man to 
be suitable to us in our nature, and to sympathise in all our troubles. 

And shall call his name Immanuel. ' He shall call his name Immanuel,' 
saith the New Testament, Mat. i. 23. That is, he shall be Immanuel 
indeed, and shall be known to be, and published to be so. Whatsoever 
hath a name is apparent.* Christ was before he took our flesh ; but he 
was not called Emmanuel. It did not openly appear that he was God in 
our nature ; he was not conceived in the womb of a virgin. They before 
Christ, knew that he should come, but when he was conceived and born, he 
was then called Emmanuel. 

There were divers presences of Christ before he came. He was in the 

* bush' as a sign of his presence. He was in the ' ark' as a sign of his 
presence. He was in the prophets and kings as a type of his presence. 
He took upon him the shape of a man as a representation of his presence, 
when he talked with Abraham and the patriarchs. But all this was not 

* God with us,' in our nature. He took it on him for a time, and laid it 
aside again. But when he was Emmanuel, and was called and declared so 
to be, he took on him our nature, never to lay it aside again. He was 
bom in our nature, brought forth in our nature, lived in our nature, died 
in our nature, was crucified in our nature, became a curse for us in our 
nature, buried in our nature, rose in our nature, is in heaven in our nature, 
and for ever will abide there in our nature. 

All their faith before he came in the flesh was in confidence that he 
should take our flesh in the fulness of time. Now came the time when he 
was called Immanuel ; and then the word became flesh and took our nature 
on him. 

From hence, that God took our nature on him in the second person, 
come divers things considerable. 

(1.) For, first, it appears that he hath dignified and raised our nature 
above angels, because he hath taken the seed of Abraham and not of the 
angels ; — a wonderful advancement of our nature, for God to be with us, 
to marry such a poor nature as ours is ; for the great God of heaven and 
earth to take dust into the unity of his person. If this may not have a 
' behold ' before it, I know not what may. 

(2.) To join altogether. For the great God of heaven and earth, before 
whom the angels cover their faces, the mountains tremble, and the earth 
quakes, to take our flesh and dust into unity of his person, and for such 
* That is, 'manifested' ('?). — G. 



ends, to save sinful man, and from such misery as eternal misery, from 
such great enemies, and then to advance him to such great happiness as 
we are advanced, to take Christ, Emmanuel, in the whole passage of his 
mediation, and there is gi'ound of admiration indeed. 

(3.) But consider it specially in the raising and advancing of our natures 
to he one ivith God. Shall God be God* with us in our nature in heaven, 
and shall we defile our natures that God hath so dignified ? Shall we live 
like beasts, whom God hath raised above angels ? Let swearers, beastly 
persons, and profane hypocrites, either alter their courses, or else say they 
believe not these truths. Shall a man believe God hath taken his nature 
into unity of his person, and hath raised it above all angels, and can he 
turn beast, yea, devil incarnate, in opposition of Christ and his cause ? 
What a shame is this ! Can this be where these things are believed ? A 
Christian should have high thoughts of himself. What ! shall I defile the 
nature that God hath taken into unity of his person ? 

(4.) And as he hath dignified, and raised, and advanced our nature so 
highly, so likewise he hath infused and put all the riches of grace into our 
nature ; for all grace is in Christ that a finite nature can be capable of, for 
Christ is nearest the fountain. Now, the human nature being so near the 
fountain of all good, that is, God, it must needs be as rich as nature can 
possibly be capable of. And is not this for our good ? Are not all his 
riches for our use ? 

And therefore seeing our nature is dignified by Emmanuel, and enriched 
exceedingly by his graces nest to infinite — for our human nature is not 
turned to God as some are conceited ; it is not deified, and so made infinite 
— yet as much as the creature can be capable of there is in Christ-man, 
and so shall we defile that nature ? 

(5.) And from hence, that our nature is engrafted into the Godhead, it 
foUoweth, that what was done in our nature was of wonderful extension, 
force, and dignity ; because it was done when our nature was knit to the 
Godhead, and therefore it maketh up all objections. As, 

How could the death of one man satisfy for the deaths of many 
millions ? 

Secondly, It was the death of Christ, whose human nature was engrafted 
into the second person of the Trinity.. For, because they were but one 
person, whatsoever the human nature did or suiiered, God did it. If they 
had been two persons, God had not died, God had not suffered, God had 
not redeemed his church. 

And therefore the scripture runneth comfortably on this : ' God hath 
redeemed the church with his own blood,' 1 Peter i. 18. Hath God 
blood ? No. But the nature that God took into unity of persons hath 
blood ; and so being one person with God, God shed his blood. It is God 
that purchased a church with his blood. It is God that died. The 
Virgin Mary was mother of God, because she is the mother of that nature 
which was taken into unity with God. 

Hereupon comes the dignity of whatsoever Christ did and sufi'ered. 
Though he did it in our nature, yet the Godhead gave it its worth, and 
not only worth, but God put some activity, some vigour, and force into all 
that Christ did. It doth advance Christ Mediator according to both 
natures. And from hence ariseth communication of properties, as divines 
call it, which I will not now speak of. It is sufiicient to see that whatsoever 
was done by Christ was done by God, he being Emmanuel, and therefore had 

* Qu. 'one'?— Ed, 



its worth and dignity to prevail with God, Hence cometh a forcible reason, 
that God must satisfy divine justice, because it was the action of a God- 
man. His great suficrings were the sufferings of the second person in our 
nature. And hereupon from satisfaction and merit comes reconciliation 
between God and us. God being satisfied by Christ, God and we are at 
terms of peace. Our peace is well founded if it be founded in God the 
Father, by God the Son taking our nature into unity of his person. These 
things must have influence into our comforts and into our lives and con- 
versations, being the grand articles of faith. And therefore we ought to 
think often of them. We must fetch principles of comfort and holiness 
from hence, as from the greatest arguments that can be. Therefore I 
desire to be punctual* in them. God is Emmanuel, especially to make God 
and us one. Christ is our friend in taking our nature to make God and 
us friends again. 

Quest. But how doth friendship between God and us arise from hence, 
that Christ is God in our nature ? I will give two or three reasons of it. 

(1.) First, It is good reason that God should be at peace with us, because 
sin, the cause of dirision, is taken awaij. It is sin that separateth between 
God and us, and if sin be taken away, God is mercy itself, and mercy will 
have a current. What stoppeth mercy but sin? Secondly, take away sin, 
it runneth amain. Chiist therefore became Emmanuel, God with us, because 
' He is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.' 

Before Adam had sinned there was sweet agreement and communion 
between Adam and God, but sin, that divided between God and the 
creature. Now Christ having made satisfaction for all our sins, there can 
be nothing but mercy. 

(2.) Again, Christ is a fit person to knit God and us together, because 
our nature is pure in Christ, and therefore in Christ God loveth us. After 
satisfaction God looks on our nature in Christ, and seeth it pure in him. 
Christ is the glory of our nature. Now if our nature be pure in our head, 
which is the glory of our nature, God is reconciled to us, and loveth us in 
him that is pure, out of whom God cannot love us. 

As Christ is pure, and our nature in him, so he will make ns pure at 

(3.) Thirdly, Christ being our head of influence, conveyeth the same Spirit 
that is in him to all his members, and by little and little by that Spirit 
purgeth his church, and maketh her fit for communion with himself, for he 
maketh us ' partakers of the divine nature,' 2 Peter i. 4. He took our 
frail human nature, that we might partake of his divine nature ; that is, 
of his divine qualities, to be holy, pure, humble, and obedient as he was. 

And thus Christ being a head, not only of eminence to rule and govern, 
but of influence to flow by his Spirit into all his members, is fit to be a 
reconciler, to bring God and us together, partly because our nature is in 
him, and partly because he doth communicate the same Spirit to us that 
is in himself, and by little and little maketh us holy like himself. 

I hasten to the main use of all. 

(4.) Then God the Father and we are in good terms, for the second 
person is (Joel in our nature for this end, to make God and i(s friends. There 
is a notable place of Scripture whichlnote for the expression's sake, he speak- 
ing there of a * day's-man : ' ' There is no day's-man between us, that might 
lay his hand on us both,' Job ix. 33 ; that is, a middle person to lay his 
hand on the one and the other. Now Christ is the middle person, as the 
* TLat is, ' exact ' ' accurate.' — G. 


second person in tlie Trinity. And then he is God and man, and there- 
fore he is fit to be mediator, to lay his hand on both sides, on man as man, 
on God as God. And Christ is a friend to both, to God as to God,* and to 
man as man, and therefore he is fit to be an umpire, to be a day's-man, to 
be a mediator. And he hath done it to purpose, making that good in 
heaven that he did on earth. And therefore labour to make a gracious 
use of all this. I know nothing in the world more useful, no point of 
divinity more pregnant, no greater spring of sanctifying duty, than that God 
and man were one, to make God and us one. He married our nature, that 
he might marry our persons. 

Use 1. And if it be so that God and man are brought to terms of recon- 
ciliation on auch a foundation as God-man, then ought not ice to improve this 
comfort ? Have we such a foundation of comfort, and shall not we make 
use of it ? Shall we have wisdom in the things of this world, and not 
make use of the grand comforts that concern our souls ? 

Use 2. But how shall tee improve it / In all our necessities and wants 
go to God. How ? Through Christ, God-man, who is in heaven making 
intercession and appearing for us by virtue of his satisfaction made ou 
earth, and therefore we may go boldly to the throne of grace to God, being 
reconciled by God. God hath God at his right hand, appearing for us, and 
shall we be afraid to go to the throne of grace ? When we want strength, 
comforts, or anything, go to God, in the mediation of Emmanuel, and then 
God can deny nothing to us that we ask with the spirit of faith in the 
name of Christ. 

I beseech you, therefore, let this be the main use, continually to improve 
the gracious privileges we have by Emmanuel. Our nature is now accept- 
able to God in Christ, because he hath purified it in himself, and God's 
nature is lovely to us, because he hath taken our nature. If God loved 
his own Son, he will love our nature as joined to his Son, and God's 
nature is lovely to us. He took our flesh upon him, and made himself 
bone of our bone. And shall not we like and aflect that which was so 
graciously procured by Emmanuel. 

Consider of it, and let it be ground of reverent and bold prayer, in all 
our wants to go to God in Emmanuel. 

Use 3. Let us make use of it likewise in behalf of the church. The 
church is ' Emmanuel's land,' as ye have it in the next chapter : verse 8, 
' The stretching out of his wings shall be the breadth of thy land, 
Emmanuel.' The church of the Jews was Emmanuel's land, but then it 
was impaled within the pale of the Jews. But now the Gentiles are taken 
in. The church is scattered and spread abroad over the whole earth. 
And therefore go to God in behalf of the church. Thou tookest our 
nature into unity of thy person, that thou mightest be a gracious and a 
merciful head. And therefore look in mercy on thine own mystical body, 
the church. They, before Christ came in the flesh, who had the spirit of 
faith, knew the church of the Jews could not be extinct, because Emmanuel 
was to come of it. 

And we may know the church shall never be destroyed till the second 
coming of Christ, because those things are not yet performed that God 
hath promised, and must be performed. And therefore we may go as 
boldly to Christ, and spread the cause of the church before him now, as 
they spread the cause of the Jews before him then ; look upon thy land, 
look upon thy church, Emmanuel. 

* Qu. ' as God' ?— Ed. 



That there must be a church we must believe, and we cannot believe a 
non ens. We must have ground for our faith, and therefore never fear that 
heresy shall overspread the face of the church, ' Emmanuel's land' shall be 
preserved by some way or other, though not perhaps by the way we expect. 
God must have a church to the end of the world. The gospel must get 
ground. Antichrist must fall. God hath said it, and man cannot unsay 
it. And therefore in all estates of the church spread its cause before 

When Emmanuel came once, the church of the Jews wasted. There- 
fore, if you will have good arguments against the Jews, this is a good one to 
convince them, that Christ is come in the flesh. The church of the Jews 
was to continue till Emmanuel, but the church of the Jews hath ceased to 
continue, and is now no church. There is now no family of David, and 
therefore Emmanuel is come. 

And for a further use, let us have thoughts of the second coming of 
Emmanuel, as they had thoughts of the first. Christ was called the con- 
solation of Israel at his first coming, and in the New Testament it is every- 
where expressed a sign of a gracious man to look for the appearing of 
Jesus Christ, and to love it. Now let us comfort ourselves that this 
Emmanuel will appear in our flesh ere long ; let us wait for the * consola- 
tion of Israel.' Emmanuel came down to us, to take our nature upon 
him, and to satisfy God's wrath, that he might take us to heaven with 
himself, and that we might be for ever with him in glory. And therefore 
let us, if we would make a true use of Emmanuel, desire to be with him. 
Christ delighted, before he came in the flesh, to be with the sons of men, 
and he is with us now by his Spirit, and so will be with his church to the 
end of the world ; and shall not we be with him as much as we may ? 
Indeed, he loved our nature so much, that he descended from the height of 
majesty to take our misery and business* upon him, and shall not we desire 
to be with him in glory ? 

There be divers evidences whether we have any ground of comfort in 
this Emmanuel or no. This shall be one. 

(1.) We may know we have benefit by the first coming of Emmanuel, 
if we have a serious desire of the second coming, if we have a desire to be with 
him ; if, as he came to us in love, we have desires to be with him in his 
ordinances as much as may be, and in humble resignation at the hour of 
death. How shall we be with him here ? Be with him in thoughts, in 
meditation, in faith and prayer ; meet with him wheresoever he is. He is 
in the congregation : ' Where two or three are gathered together in his 
name,' he is amongst them, Mat. xviii. 20. Be with them in all things 
where he vouchsafeth his gracious presence. It is the nature of love to 
desire perfect union, and therefore the Christian soul, touched with the 
Spirit of God, will desire * to be dissolved and to be with Christ, as best 
of all,' Philip, i. 23 ; * Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly,' Rev. xxii. 20 ; 
and therefore in the hour of death is willing to resign himself to God that 
he may go to Emmanuel, and enjoy his presence, that left the presence of 
his Father, to take our nature, and to be with us on earth. 

(2.) But the main thing I desire you to observe, is matter of comfort from 
this Emmanuel, that now he having taken our nature upon him, that he 
might take our persons into unity of his mystical body, we might have 
comfort in all conditions. For he took our nature upon him, besides his 
other ends, that he might take our persons to make up mystical Christ. 
Qu. ' baseness ' ? — Ed. 


He married our nature to marry our persons. And therefore if he did it for 
this end, that we might be near him as our nature is near him, shall not 
we make it a ground of comfort, that our persons shall be near Christ as 
well as our natures ? 

As Christ hath two natures in one person, so many persons make up 
one mystical Christ, so that our persons are wonderfully near to Christ. 
The wife is not near* the husband, the members are not nearer the head, 
the building is not nearer the foundation, than Christ and his church are. 
And therefore comfort ourselves in this ; Christ is Emmanuel, God with 
us in our nature. And will he suffer his church to want, that he hath 
taken so near to himself? Can the members want influence when the head 
hath it ? Can the wife be poor when the husband is rich ? Whatsoever 
Christ did to his own body, to his human nature taken into the unity of 
his person, that he will do in some proportion to his mystical body. 

I will shew you some particulars. He sanctified his natural body by 
the Holy Ghost, and he will sanctify us by the same Spirit. For there is 
the same Spirit in head and members. He loveth his natural body, and 
so as never to lay it aside to eternity. And loveth his mystical body 
now in some sort more, for he gave his natural body to death for his mysti- 
cal body. And therefore, as he will never lay aside his natural body, he 
will never lay aside his church, nor any member of his church. For with 
the same love that he loved his natural body he loveth now his mystical 
members. As he rose to glory in his natural body, and ascended to 
heaven, so he will raise his mystical body, that it shall ascend as he 
ascended. I beseech you, therefore, consider what a ground of comfort this 
is. God took our nature on him, besides the grand end of satisfaction, 
that he might make us like himself in glory, that he might draw us near 
to himself. And therefore now Christ being in heaven, having commission 
and authority over all things put into his hand ; he * having a name above 
all names in heaven and earth, that at the name of Jesus every knee should 
bow,' Philip, ii. 10, 11 ; that is, every subjection should be given ; will 
he suffer any member of his body to suffer more than he thinks fit? No; 
seeing he is in heaven and glory, for his church's good. For all that he 
hath done and suffered is for the church and the church's use. 

To conclude all, let us consider what we are. Let not a Christian be 
base-minded. Let him not be dastardly in any cause that is good, or 
God's. Let him be on God's side. Who is on his side ? A Christian is 
an impregnable person. He is a person that can never be conquered. 
Emmanuel became man to make the church and every Christian to be one 
with him. Christ's nature is cut of danger of all that is hurtful. The 
sun shall not shine, the wind shall not blow, to the church's hurt. For 
the church's head ruleth over all things, and hath all things in subjection. 
Angels in heaven, men on earth, devils in hell, all bow to Christ. And 
shall anything befall them that he loveth, unless for their greater good ? 
Therefore though they may kill a Christian and imprison him, yet hurt 
him they cannot. ' If God be on our side, who can be against us?' Rom. 
viii. 30. But God is on our side, and on what grounds ? God-man hath 
procured him to be our friend, he hath satisfied God, and therefore if we 
believe, we be one with Christ, and so one with God. 

We have many against us. The devils are against ns, the world is 
against us, to take away the favour of God, to hinder access to him in 
prayer, to stop the church's communion with God, and hinder the sweet 
* Qu. 'nearer'?— Ed. 


issue of all things that befall us as far as they can. ' But their malice is 
greater than their power. If God should let them loose, and give the 
chain into their own hand, though they seem to hurt, yet hurt they cannot 
in the issue. And shall not we make use of these things in times of dis- 
tress ? Wherefore serve they but to comfort us in all conflicts with Satan, 
and in all doubtings that arise from our sinful hearts ? Answer with this, 
• If God be with us, who can be against us ? ' If any be against us, name 
them ; if not, be satisfied. And therefore come life, come death, Christ is 
our surety. He layeth up our dust, keepeth our acts-i- in the grave ; and 
will Christ lose any member ? ' Fear not, Jacob, to go down into Egypt, 
for I will bring thee back again.' So fear not to go down into the grave. 
The Spirit of God will watch over our dust, and bring us to heaven. 
Therefore fear nothing. God will be with us in life and death, yea, for 
ever ; and we shall be for ever with the Lord, as the apostle saith in the 
Thessalonians, 1 Thes. iv. 17. And that issue of all that Emmanuel hath 
done, Christ was one in our nature, that he might bring God and us into 
favour, that we may be for ever with him in heaven, that we may be for 
ever with the Lord, which is the accomplishment of all the promises. 

* Qu. ' bodies ' ?— Ed. 




' The Touchstone of Eegeration' forms No. 24 of ' The Saint's Cordials ' of 1629, 
one of those displaced by others in the after-editions. Its separate title-page is 
given below.* G. 

* THE 




In One Sermon. 


and true Signes of Regeneration are discovered, and the 

Soule pointed to such a frame and temper of disposition, 

which having attained, it may be comforted.. 

Praelucendo Pereo. 

Yprightnes Hath Buldnes. 

Galat. 5. 22. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentlenesse, good- 
nesse, faith. 

Meelcnesse, temperance, against such there is no law, 


Printed in the yeare 1629. 


The xcolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and tJie leopard shall lie down with 
the kid: and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together ; and a 
little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall feed ; their 
young ones shall lie down together : and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 
And the sucking child shall play upon the hole of the asp, and the weaned 
child shall put his hand upon the cockatrice's den. They shall not hurt nor 
destroy in all my holy mountain, dc. — Isaiah XI. 6—9. 

I HAVE formerly, in divers sermons upon this scripture,* declared that it, 
by way of prophecy, foretelleth what shall be the fruits of Christ's king- 
dom under the gospel, shewing that miraculous change Christ should make 
upon men, shadowed out in this scripture under the similitude of beasts, 
as lions, wolves, bears, leopards, &c. The sum whereof is, that God will 
take from us that fierceness, malignity, and bitterness of nature in us, and 
bring us, in place thereof, to a loving, sweet, mild, and meek society 

Many things already have been particularly handled out of this text ; as, 

1. First, from the condition and natural estate of men, wherein they 
may be called beasts, lions, serpents, &c. 

2. And secondly, of that change Christ thereafter makes in us, which 
indeed is a miraculous change. This was the first thing handled. 

First, That in every soul which shall come to heaven there must be a 

Secondly, You have heard whereof the change must be ; not of the 
substantial parts of a man's body, but of the corrupt qualities of the mind; 
or, if you will have it so, of the soul, and all the powers thereof. 

Thirdly, I shewed upon whom this change was made — look verse 9 ; it 
is made upon the church of God in this world, which in my text is called 
God's holy mountain. So also, Heb. xii. 22, the church is called the 
mountain of God. 

The fourth thing considered was, by whom this change was made ; even 
by the spring-head of all. From the God of grace it cometh, and floweth 
to us by Jesus Christ our Lord, who was ' God manifested in the flesh.' 

Fifthly, We inquired then by what means this change is wrought. This 
we shewed to be by the knowledge of the law, &c. And this is the reason 

* These sermons have not teen preserved; but of. Vol. II. pp. 437-517. — G. 



which is added why there shall be no hurt nor destroying in all this holy 
mountain, because the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as 
the waters cover the sea ; meaning there shall then be an abundant know- 
ledge, a deep knowledge, and a well-seasoned permanent knowledge, which 
shall keep every one within their limits, every one knowing his duty, so 
maintaining a mutual peace in all this holy mountain. 

Next, now sixthly and lastly, for ending of this text, I am to speak of 
the marks of this change; or rather, I may call them, the effects of this 
change, the certain and infallible signs of the same. Yet look not that 
here I will undertake to handle a commonplace, and shew unto you all the 
signs of regeneration ; only I will contain myself within this text, contented 
to shew you those which this scriptui'e affordeth, which whosoever hath, 
may assure themselves of the rest. Wherein, ere we proceed further in 
particular, let us first make the general ; that is, a taming, a subduing, a 
taking away of the fierceness and cruelty of our corrupt nature. This 
throughout the text is the main mark of the change ; which will yet be 
more evident by the particulars. 

What meaneth this, * that the lion shall lie down with the calf, that the 
leopard shall lie down with the kid,' when they shall come from their own 
kind to another strange generation, as it were ? What meaneth this, that 
they shall trust one another with their young ones ? that the lion shall no 
more prey upon blood, as in times past, but eat straw with the ox ? that 
the serpent shall let the little child play upon the hole of his den ? and all 
these to be so tamed that a little child should lead them, take them, and 
rule them ? What meaneth all this but this. 

That it is an eminent and infallible mark of regeneration to hare the violence 
and fierceness of our cruel nature taken away. This is a sure sign; for this 
look Eom. i. 29, how naturally the heart is filled with all maliciousness 
and sinful cruelty, which to be subdued and tamed is a special grace ; so 
Gal. vi. 7-9, and Eph. iv. 17, et seq. There you may see the fruits of the 
old man to be idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, wrath, strife, sedition, 
&c. ; there you may also read of a change, of a renewing of the new man 
in love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, 
temperance, against whom there is no law. There you may see what a 
great alteration this change maketh, and what the marks of corruption are. 

But yet there it is worth the marking, that here in these places the Holy 
Ghost calleth for works of mercy, to perform duties to men, meekness, 
temperance, patience, &c., not mentioning duties directly due unto God. 
Why are these duties towards men so much urged, but to shew that our 
corruption is not so much manifested in the worship of God as in works of 
mercy to men ? Therefore it is that all the prophets do so call for works 
of mercy, that Christ himself so inviteth thereunto, because men may 
deceive the world with a counterfeit show of outward justice to God, but 
in works of mercy there is no means to escape, Micah vi. 7. * If the 
first-born, or ten thousand rivers of oil,' with a number of the like sacri- 
fices, might please God, all would bo given for the sin of the soul ; but 
the Lord calleth for works of mercy, meekness, and to walk humbly with 

Now the cause why men are so hardly brought to be merciful to others, 
and more easily to works of piety towards God's worship, I take to be, 
because, as it is John viii. 44, ' the devil is a liar and a murderer from the 
beginning.' Now his prime quality being to be a murderer, he worketh so 
in the children of disobedience, that, like unto him, they have a murderous 


disposition to sliew no mercy, to relieve none, which sheweth that such are 
poisoned with the same sorts of poison wherewith he is infected. Thus 
you see there must be a general meekness in all who are heavenly wise, far 
from this murderous disposition. So James iii. 13, he saith, ' Who is a 
wise man, and endued with knowledge among you ? let him shew out of a 
good conversation his works, with meekness of wisdom.' There he speaks 
of a deviHsh wisdom, which comes not from above, ' which is full of 
envying and strife ; !but the wisdom which is from above is first pure, then 
peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits,' 
&c. Thus he shews by what coat-armour* a Christian must be known; 
how the sons of God must be discerned. This is the general mark : if 
that natural cruelty and bitterness bred in us be taken away, and meek- 
ness, gentleness, and the like, put in place thereof, this for the general 
is a sure sign that the change is made, regeneration is begun. Now I 
come to speak of these marks and infallible signs of regeneration contained 
in this test, which must be in some measure in the party regenerate. 
The first is, 

1. Harmlessness. 

Which, though it be a thing that runs along the body of my text, and is 
last named, yet here I bring it first, because it is partly imphed in all ; for 
in this, that it is said * the little child shall play upon the hole of the asp,' 
and take no hurt, what doth this imply but a mild and harmless disposi- 
tion, contrary to our natural fierceness and cruelty ? It is written, Prov. 
iii. 27, ' Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, though it be in 
thy power to do it.' As I take it, by good in that place is meant works of 
mercy ; that we must be so like God as may be in works of charity. He 
that -refuseth works of mercy to those in need, he is a murderer. How 
can a man say he is renewed, unless in some sort he be like unto God in 
mercifulness ? We see the wicked, it is a prime quality in them to do 
mischief; they delight in evil; it is meat and drink to them to do 
wickedly ; they are still musing on some cursed deed or other. But it is 
a property of God's child to be harmless. Yet for further trial of this grace 
note we two signs of this sign. 

First, If ice ivould not do evil, though ive might do it unseen of any 
creature : as, when a little child shall lay his hand on the cockatrice's den, 
the serpent might sting, and yet, unseen of any, pull in the head again. 
This, likewise, is a true sign of harmlessness — when, though a man may do 
some hurt unseen, yet he will not. Thus was not Herod ; he abstained 
a-while from beheading of John Baptist, but it was more for fear of the 
people, than any other cause. Therefore, Christ, in another place, calleth 
him a fox, Luke xiii. 32, so far was he from this harmlessness we speak 
of. Thus we see the doctrine of Christ may be preached to a-many, but 
the power of the same extendeth but to a few. 

Beloved, I would have all of us to consider this. We live, all of us, in 
the kingdom of Christ ; but where is the man that, though he might do 
evil unseen, yet would not do it ? We have a worthy pattern of this grace 
in Joseph, Gen. xxxix. 9, who, though he might have done evil unseen, 
yet would not, ' Oh,' saith he, * how shall I do this evil, and sin against 
God ?' and ofiend God. Oh, how many are there which withhold the 
passions of their tongues, and the violence of their hands, only because 
they are not able to work mischief ! How many men now smooth the 
hands of God's people, and say as they say, only because they dare not, 
* A heraldry term. — G. 


and cannot do them mischief, who, if that opportunity served, would sting 
them ! This will shew a change to be made, and we to be harmless, if, 
when opportunity of doing evil is offered, yet we can abstain. 

A second sign of this sign is, lohen, though a man hath provocation to do 
evil, yet he will abstain. This is a sound trial. We see it is said, that the 
little child shall play upon the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall 
lay his hand upon the cockatrice's den. Is not here provocation, and yet 
no hurt done ? In this the Holy Ghost would give us a sure sign indeed. 
Many men are of a mild natural disposition, and so may, perhaps, forbear 
mischief when it is in their power. And so, many men, which are merely 
natural, may bear with rehgion for some by-respects. But, provoke 
them, and then you shall have them all of a fire, ready to fly in your 
face. What religion is there in this ? For to do good for good, and evil 
for evil, — this, Christ says, even publicans may do : there is no thank in 
this ; but if, when we are provoked, we can forbear to revenge, this is a 
blessed thing. If there be true love in our hearts, the apostle says, 1 Cor. 
xiii. 5, that it is not * provoked.' And it is written, Isa. liii. 7, that Christ 
' he was afflicted, oppressed, yet opened he not his mouth : he is brought 
as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so 
opened not he his mouth.' This he did, thus holy men have done, and 
this, if we would see life, we must do. Yet we see, though" we should be 
like sheep, even they will now and then push at one another ; but this is 
not with much violence ; besides that, it doth not endure. The apostle 
wills us to forbear, forgive one another ; so this strife hath an end. There- 
fore, if I cannot forgive in a small matter, but that either my tongue must 
fly out in words, or the heart be set on mischief, this is a woeful estate. 
If this be all our goodness, surely it is miserable goodness ; here is no 
harmlessness : suspect thy estate. But the true goodness and blessed 
estate is to follow that counsel of our Saviour Christ, ' Bless them that 
curse and persecute you,' &c.. Mat. v. 54. This, then, is harmlessness, 
when there is afforded unto us both secret occasion and provocation to do 
evil, and yet we abstain. So much for the first. 

Now I pass to the second, which is 

2. Sociableness. 

Which is set out in the whole body of my text. But with whom is it 
that this seciety holdeth ? Not of lions with lions, or wild beasts with 
wild beasts ; and yet many of these cannot endure one another : for the 
rhinoceros and the unicorn, when they meet, they fight ; so doth the wild 
horse and the bear ; but if at length they agree, this sociableness of theirs 
is of wicked beasts one with another. But this is more, that the wolf and 
the lamb, the cow and the bear, the leopard and the kid, the calf and the 
young Hon, shall lie down together, and that the little child shall play upon 
the hole of the asp. This implies, not only a simple society, as among 
wild beasts, but a sociableness, as it were, among those of another genera- 
tion. =t- 

To apply this unto ourselves : there be good bands of our sociableness 
one with another, both reason and speech ; for, naturally, all of us have 
been lions, bears, and wolves, and unsociable haters of goodness in others. 
Now, then, this sociableness with those former servants of God, who 
have been called, this is a very sure mark of this change in us ; so the 
apostle speaks, 1 John iv. 14, ' By this we know we are translated from 
death to life, because we love the brethren.' And so Christ, our master, 
* That is, kind or species. — G. 


speaketh, * By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love 
one another.' This nearness imports consanguinity. It is common, in 
the Scripture, to call the children of God brethren. 

[l.j No man can love a saint, as a saint, but a saint. This is a sure 
sign of this sign. For this cause, the apostle to Philemon, he rejoiceth 
for his faith to God, and love to the brethren, ver. 5. And so again, ver. 
7, it was his joy that the brethren were comforted. The reason hereof is, 
because, as there is a natural enmity among us by sin, to shew a difference, 
the children of God must rejoice in unity. 

Further, a true trial of sociableness is, when men will joy to sort them- 
selves with those with ivhom fornierly they have been most unsociable, and 
ivhose co7njmny they most loathed : as, first, we see the wolf doth lie down 
with the lamb, which is a slow beast ; secondly, the leopard with the kid ; 
thirdly, the young lion and the calf, for these fat beasts are, for the most 
part, a prey to the lion ; fourthly, the cow and the bear, for the cow is a 
prey to the bear ; fifthly, the serpent is especially an enemy to mankind, 
as, Gen. iii, 15, God said, * I will put enmity betwixt thy seed and that of 
the woman.' This, I confess, is chiefly meant of the devil, yet the extent 
thereof reacheth thus far unto us, who naturally loathe serpents, that so 
great shall this sociableness be, that even a little child shall play upon the 
hole of the asp, and receive no harm. Now, when all these are reconciled 
thus, where formerly was special envy, this is a true trial of sociableness. 
For further proof hereof, note an idolater when he is converted, none are 
so dear unto him as God's servants. The voluptuous man, having left his 
lust, loves none so well as Christ's people ; the riotous man, having left 
his excess, loveth none so well as the sober ; the atheistical, profane man 
delighteth, being changed, so much in none as the truest worshippers : so, 
we see, though before conversion men may roar like bears, as Isa. lix. 11, 
yet, being tamed, it is said, Jer. xxxi. 9, that then they shall come weep- 
ing, &c., and draw into sociableness with others formerly hated. When 
some men come to be of our religion, and yet keep such about them as 
are not sincere, this is no good sign. But, take this for a sure rule, that no 
man is truly turned unto God, but he that loveth the society he formerly 

[2.] A second sign of this sign is, to love every brother, yea, though it 
ivere to lay down our life for a brother. But how is this implied ? — ' The 
calf and the young lion shall He down together.' If the young lion can 
endure not to raven on the calt, then it can endure any other of that kind. 
Beloved, it is a special grace to love all the brethren, without respect of 
persons. So the prophet David, Ps. cxix. 63, says, ' I am a companion 
of all those that fear thee.' Here is implied, not to love some one brother, 
but the brethren. I confess, for some special cause a man may rejoice 
and delight more in the company of some, than of others ; as David, Ps. 
xvi. 2, ' But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, all my 
delight is in them.' So that, I say, for some special grace, or graces, one 
may love one better than another. Thus Christ loved John best, being 
called the beloved disciple, which was not for any special grace in John, 
but from a kind of sympathy in natures, which many times, from a hidden 
cause, produceth much love. But, if we have respect of persons, as it is, 
James ii. 3, we are to blame. If we respect a great rich man, with a little 
grace, more than a poor man with a great deal ; or, if we respect not a 
poor man as a rich, with alike graces. We see. Acts viii. 14, et seq., when 
Philip preached at Samaria, Simon Magus did cleave also to him ; but it 


seems he did not stick so close to Philip for hia graces, as it appeareth he 
did for somewhat in his person. Brethren, if partially we admire some for 
their persons, it is suspicious. It is dangerous too much to admire fleshly 
excellency, for those gifts of goodness in the same. If I do truly love 
goodness in rich apparel, why do I not also love it in rags? Beloved, if 
we love not thus, we love with the parrot, our love is not true ; there ought 
ever to be the like love in kind, though not in measure. 

Now I come to the third mark, which is, 

8. Constancy. 

How is this implied ? By dwelling and lying together. You shall have 
beasts meet together, by chance, yet part asunder quickly again ; but when 
they lie and dwell together in constant abode, this is a sure sign. You 
shall have many companions go with a man, for fashion's sake, to the church, 
and yet leave going ere it be long ; you shall have some men sick, and then, 
like a serpent frozen in winter, which casts his skin, you shall have them 
cast their skin a little, that is, send for a preacher, or such a man, make 
confession of their sins, saying, Oh, if God will spare me, I will become 
a new man, I will never do as I have done, I will never any more haunt 
such company ; but yet, when he is well, within a month after, where shall 
you find him ? Not with the lambs, but with the bears, and wolves, and 
lions. Thus, when we can constantly hold on with an unmoved, constant 
affection, to the children of God, this is a sure sign. 

But I hasten to the next. The fourth is, 

4. Inivardness. 

How is this implied ? Their little ones shall lie down together. There 
is nothing so dear unto all creatures as their young ones, of which they are 
most jealous. There are no creatures which are not jealous and tender of 
their young ones, chiefly the bear, which is most of all tender, fighting 
sometimes, even to the death, in defence of her young ones. But this, 
that the little ones of the bear, and of the cow, shall lie together, this im- 
plies an inwardness together, such an inwardness as I think is meant. Acts 
iv. 32, where it is said, * These dwelt together, and possessed all things in 
common use.' Yet not losing that title they had unto the same as their 
own ; and, ver. 34, their charity is described, that * no man lacked any- 
thing which another had, but in necessity all things were common.' This, 
their united charity to help others, was their little ones which did lie 
together. And this, also, must be our trial, if whatsoever is dear and 
near unto us, even our young little ones, if they be ready to lie down 
together with the necessities of others, this is inwardness. Think of this 
also, that this dwelling and lying together is a thing free, not any way 
constrained. This is a trial of our sociableness, not when we are tied 
together in a cage, but at liberty, and then we dwell together; for 
many keep company now together, both in dwelling and lying together, 
which would fly out if time served. We read in the book of Esther, that 
when the Jews had the better hand, many of their enemies joined with 
them, but not of love, but because they had the better hand of their 
enemies, Esther x. 3 ; and so, when the people of God came from Egypt, 
many of the people, because of their prosperity, did join with them ; and 
now also, in the time of the gospel, I appeal to the consciences of many 
among us, whether they do not lie down with us for fear now. Let no 
man tlaink amiss of me for that I thus speak, for now such join with us, 
who, if they had another day, would shew other strange tricks unto us ; 
and, as it is, Jer. xviii 18, ' let us smite him with our tongues ;' so many 


of these are ready to smite ns with their tongues now, who seem to be 
inward with us. What would these do if the day were their own ? Be- 
loved, such men cannot be of God, who thus do malign the servants of 
God. You may couple beasts together in a chain, but, being loose, they 
run asunder again ; so many now, like such beasts among us, are tied with 
chains for a while, but untie them once, and all is gone. Many of these, 
when once they are loose, keep company with bears and wolves. 
But I hasten to the fifth, which is, 

5. Tractahleness. 

How is this implied ? A little child shall lead them and rule them. It 
is a true sign of grace when we become easy to be ruled and brought in 
compass. We read of lions to have been tamed to draw in chariots ; this 
is tractahleness. So when a poor servant of God hath nothing but his 
simphcity to bring us in, this is tractahleness, when we can be content to 
be brought in even by men inferior to us, that are simple and of mean 
gifts. So when the husband can endure to be brought home by the wife, 
being wiser and of more knowledge than she ; when the wife can be con- 
tent to be brought home by the daughter or maid-servant, like Job, who 
despised not the counsel of his own servants. Job xxxi. 13 ; this is tract- 
ahleness. To be brief, when men can be content to come to their old, 
ancient food. 

6. Simplicity, 

Which is the sixth and last sign of this change. This is a sure trial of 
regeneration. But how is this implied ? That the lion shall eat straw like 
the ox. Beasts at the beginning were not thus cruel as since the fall of 
man, but did feed on grass, &c. ; so the Holy Ghost doth imply, that when 
our state is come back to that it was at the beginning, as near as may be, 
that is to say, when the lost image of God is so restored in us that a man 
is come to his former food again, that as then, so now, he feeds on the con- 
templation of the wisdom of God, the justice of God, the mercy of God, 
the greatness and power of God, the abundant goodness and truth of God, 
&c., this is a sure sign of regeneration. Cain he was bloody, and fed upon 
blood ; therefore, as it is John iv. 32, when a man is come thus far, that 
he hath meat which one seeth not, whereupon he feedeth, holy thoughts, 
holy meditations, &c., when he can suck the breasts of God's consolations, 
whereon his children feed, to draw virtue from the same unto himself, this 
is a sure sign that a man is most happy, and born again. In a word, as 
the apostle speaks, when thus striving for masteries, he becomes temperate 
in all things, 2 Tim. ii. 5, this is a sure mark and infallible. Now, I come 
to the uses, which are two : 

1, For consolation; 2, for exhortation. 

Use 1. The first thing is, for the place. But how shall this be brought 
in ? What of the place ? I say a trial by the place, where all shall be 
in: *Inmy holy mountain.' It shall be therefore for trial of religion. 
Where the mountain is, there is the true reUgion, there is the church ; 
look where you will, still it is in the mountain. Many now-a-days cry 
out and keep a stir to know where the true church is, and I affirm, it is in 
the mountain. So that in this I may say of the church, as sometime 
Elijah did speak of the true God, 1 Kings xviii. 24, ♦ Let him which 
answereth by fire be the true God ;' so I say of the church and of true 
religion. Let that be the true religion that hath most fire in it, that which 
sheweth forth most piety and holiness. The papists they say they are the 
true church; but look on God's mountain, look which religion makes a 


man most mild, and tames bis fierce nature, which takes away a man's 
dogged disposition, for a dog barks and then be bites, so the barking and 
biting of the Romish Church shews them not to be in the mountain ; their 
church doth allow biting. Was there ever any doctrine like theirs, which 
teaches a man to murder his own king, to keep no faith, &c. ? Was there 
ever any religion like theirs, that set poisoning afoot ? which also set 
princes at variance ? The last sacrament of theirs will never be forgotten, 
when that peace was proclaimed between both religions, then one would 
have thought all was well and ended, there were ten thousand massacred 
at one place called Labius, eighty slain with one sword, with many other 
of their cruelties ; and the gunpowder treason, so odious and monstrous as 
the like hath not been heard («). The like I may say of Garnet's part, 
who must not reveal this treason, because it was done in confession (b). 
Oh monstrous times, that confession should be so abused to barbarous, 
inhuman, matchless cruelty ! If ever you take our religion to teach such 
things, though popery should prevail against us, as God forbid, we will 
claim no more right of the mountain. Never did, nor never will, our reli- 
gion teach taking up of arms against our king, cruelty against superiors 
and others; but, by the contrary, our religion teacheth a man to suffer 
with and for Christ. It may be some cruel men may be among us, but 
we look what we profess, and teach that men with meekness must suffer; 
all this that I have said much concerneth us. If God will have no cruelty 
to be taught nor reign where he loveth, see what a thing it is to be thus 
cruel. If we be thus fierce and savage, let us not deceive ourselves, we 
are not yet come to the mountain of God ; for, saith the prophet, ' They 
shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain.' 

Use 2. Now I come to the second use, /or exhortation. There is yet a 
little of the lion and the bear remaining in every one of us, which shews 
us to be not thoroughly renewed, yet I do not say that those who are 
angry are not regenerate ; but I say, if this do rage and rule with us, all 
is not safe and well. A good tree sometimes may have some bare or crab 
stock on some side of the tree, that bears crabs, and yet the tree be good ; 
but this must not be predominant. The apostle says, ' If there be divi- 
sions and dissensions among you, are you not carnal ? ' 1 Cor. iii. 3. I 
speak not of some little faults, — God help us ! in all our natures there is 
much frailty, — but of such that rule in us. It is a wonder to see how un- 
charitable many men are to censure others for every little fault, when 
they themselves swallow down camels, I mean gross sins. Some man, for 
refusal of riotous excess, though he be full of excellent parts, yet say they. 
Such a one is a Puritan; and so again, if an honest man or woman fall by 
infirmity into some sin, Oh, say some, lo, now his hypocrisy discovers 
itself. Shall men be thus censured, as though perfection were on earth ? 
This is far from covering thy brother's nakedness, this is far from 
St Paul's rule, ' to restore such a one with the spirit of meekness,' Gal. 
vi. 1. Beloved, God forbid that I should harden any man in sin; I speak 
these things only that since a little of the bear and the lion will still be in 
every one of us so long as we shall live in this world, let us learn to bear 
one another's infirmities, otherwise if thou chafe, censure, brawl, and 
chide still, I can give thee no comfort of thy state. Can such a one be 
regenerate ? What ! is the bear, and the lion, and the wolf come among 
us again ? To conclude, as abroad, so look to thy conversation at home, 
among thy servants and friends ; take heed thy authority deceive thee not, 
to think thou mayest set thy heart to raging and plotting envj' and strife, 


to be angry and chafing still. If sucli raging be at home in thy house, I 
can give thee no comfort ; as thou wouldest look for the evidences of thy 
lands, as certainly must thou look for this mildness, meekness, and this 
change in thyself. Mark this still, when a good man hath found out his 
sins, he is bound and doth lament for them ; when he hath offended, he 
turneth the stream of his anger that way. So that, I say, if a man be 
thus bitter of his tongue, look what St James saith of such a one : ' That 
man's religion is in vain that cannot bridle his tongue,' James i. 26. * Be 
not,' saith he, * my brethren, many masters ; for we have one Master,' &c., 
James iii. 1. If these contentions remain still among us, our stock yet 
bears crabs ; we may suspect ourselves. But withal take with you this 
caution, let not men think it cruelty to execute the justice of God upon 
malefactors ; but if magistrates do it cruelly, let them look to it, they 
shall dearly pay for it. The prophet David saith, Ps. ci. 1, 'I will sing 
of mercy and judgment,' &c. So for war, I call not that cruelty to fight 
God's battles ; but if any man without a commission will take up the sword, 
he shall perish by the sword ; so Christ saith unto Peter, Mat. xxvi. 52. 
This point is needful to be pressed still, because men cry Mercy, mercy ; 
but, I say, judgment must be mingled ; for as there may be a cruel justice, 
so there may be a cruel mercy, to suffer the lions to devour the sheep. We 
must, hke God, temper them together, and make justice and mercy go 
hand in hand, that so the God of mercy may deal with us as we with 

Thus you see what minds we must have if we look for an habitation in 
God's holy mountain. God, for his Christ's sake, grant unto us this 
tamedness and meekness, this thorough change of our cruel nature, that so 
we may come unto the assurance to be of that number for whom Christ 
died, seeing his Spirit hath wrought such an effectual, thorough change 
in us. 


(a) P. 136. — ' Ten thousand massacred at Labius,' &c. We have little doubt that 
there is a misprint here, and that the reading should be, ' there were ten thousand 
massacred ; at one jilace in Calabria eighty slain with one sword.' The first 
reference we supi^ose to be to the massacre in Paris on St Bartholomew's Day, 1572. 
Davila estimates the number slain in that city on that day at ten thousand. The 
other reference we suppose to be to a massacre at Montalto, in Calabria, in 1560, 
when eighty-eight men had their throats cut by one executioner. 

(6) P. 136. — ' Garnet's part.' Cf. note ooo, "Vol. III. page 535. G. 




' The Discreet Plougliman' forms No. 26 of ' The Saint's Cordials' of 1629. It was 
■withdrawn from the other two editions. The separate title-page is given below.* — G . 

* THE 

D I S C K E E T 

In One Seemon. 


nity, and needlesse carking and vexing Cares of Gods 
Children under the hand of God is reproved, and better Di- 
rections given them what to doe : 
Informing them for the time to come, how to attaine a more 
speedy and easie end of their Afflictions. 

Praelucendo Pereo. 

Vpeightnes Hath Boldnes. 

I AM E s 1. 4. 
But let patience have her perfect worke, that ye may be perfect and intire, lacking 

I AM. 4. 10. 
Humble your selves in the sight of God, and he shall lift you up. 


Printed in the yeare 1629. 


Give ye ear, and hear my voice ; hearken, and hear my speech. Doth the 
2}loughman plough all day to soio ? doth he open and break the clods of his 
ground ? When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast 
abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the princijml wheat, 
and the appointed barley, and the rye, in their place ? For his God doth 
instruct him to discretion, ayid doth teach him. For the fitches are not 
thrashed with a thrashing-instrument, neither is a cart-ivheel turned about 
upon the cummin ; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the 
cummin with a rod. Bread-corn is bruised ; because he ivill not ever be 
thrashing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his 
horsemen. This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, uhich is ivon- 
derful in counsel, and excellent in working. — IsA. XXVIII. 23-29. 

The drift of these words is to comfort God's children in afflictions ; and 
because in such smarting crosses, when one is sorrowful, weak, taken up 
and overpressed with grief, we are then unfit and incapable of instruction, 
the anguish of the suffering destroying our attention ; he therefore says', 
doubling it four times, ' Give ye ear,' ' hear my voice,' hearken ye,' and 
' hear my voice ;' wherein he insinuates that the matter he is about to 
dehver requires attention. As though he should say. You can hearken to 
the world, to carnal reason, to the devil and his instruments, who lead you 
astray ; but if you would have sound peace and comfort, you must hearken 
unto God's word, because it is his voice, one who loves you, tenders* your 
good, and does all things well. 

Then he comes to the consolation, the sum whereof is, that none loseth 
by God's afflictions, but rather they are gainers, and great gainers. This he 
shews by two comparisons, both taken from a husbandman, who when he 
hath sowed will not harrow it always, but will give every ground sufficient 
labouring and manuring ; who will sow seed, and every seed, and fit seed, 
in measure, time, and fit place. And then he shews, when God doth give 
this discretion to a husbandman, how much more doth he abound therein, 
who, John XV. 1, is called an husbandman; yea, he is the best husband- 
man who knows times and seasons, when to begin and when to make an 
end. This is the ground, as the wise husbandman's discretion teaches him 
how, when, and how much to plough his ground, and when and what seed 
* That is, ' cares for.' — G. 


to SOW ; SO God is much more the greatest and wisest husbandman, who 
knows when and how much to afflict us ; when to begin and when to make 
an end ; when to sow, and how to make fruitful. 

The second work of the husbandman is taken from the purging of his 
grain, where he shews the labourer will take and use fit instruments to 
cleanse it with. First, cummin, a cart-wheel is not turned about upon it ; 
then, secondly, the fitches shall not be thrashed with a thrashing- instru- 
ment. Thirdly, then the third he shews as having most need, shall have 
the wheel to go over it ; yet he shews the wheel shall not always go over 
it, nor break it so as to have any hurt by the pressm-e, for it shall lose 
nothing thereby but the chaff. 

Now having declared thus much, then he shews, this discretion of wisdom 
in husbandry comes from the Lord of hosts, * who is wonderful in counsel,' 
knowing with the height of deliberation and knowledge how to do all things. 
And then ' excellent in working,' to make all things frame to a good, sweet, 
seasonable, and happy end. 

Before I come to the particulars, see in general he applies both compari- 
sons to one and the same end, to evince* us of this great truth. As 
Pharaoh had his vision and dreams of the seven ears and seven lean kine 
doubled unto him, which two were but to confirm one thing that Pharaoh 
must be assured of ; so here he deals in di'awing us the right way to find 

' Give ear, and hear my voice ; hearken, and hear my speech,' &c. 

Doct. 1. Hence observe, the only ivay to quiet one's heart, and jiftcify one 
in all distresses, is to hearken what God says. Therefore he goes over and 
over with it, * give ear ;' * hearken,' and ' hear my voice,' for this shall 
quiet your souls, and bring you much quiet and peace of mind. In afflic- 
tions we toss, turmoil, and trouble ourselves more than we need. We cry 
out, Oh, none were ever so vexed and crossed as we are ! and so say, Oh, 
I shall never get an end of this cross ! this affliction will make an end of 
me ! And then God comes to us to parley with us in this slumber, and 
hath much ado to wake us. He loves us best, and shews us this is our 
best way to find ease, to hear his voice. 

Reasons, 1. First, Because God's word will work faith, which does purify 
the heart, overcome the world, and quenches the fiery darts of Satan. 

2. Secondly, It will teach a man wisdom, whence and why it comes, and 
that struggling with God is in vain, and that in so doing we shall have the 
worse. The greatest hurt of our crosses comes from passion and distemper ; 
for if we put no more in crosses than God puts in, all should be well ; but 
we put in other things, our own impatience, false fears, fretting, and carnal 
reason, which makes this good purge of our heavenly Father's providing, 
be so bitter and heavy unto us. This we should by all means strive 
against, and make a good use of affliction, such as God would have and 

3. Thirdly, It will be a means to work patience in the heart. All the 
Scriptures are written to work patience in us ; for God would have us sub- 
mit, and our proud hearts can hardly be brought to stoop. This is the 
end of all. 

4. Fourthly, If we hearken to God, this will make us go to God and 
pray, and prayer will bring comfort and ease to the heart ere long ; but if 
we hearken to the flesh, the further we run this way, the more we plunge 
ourselves in misery. God, you know, bids us come to him, and says, 

* That is, ' convince.' — G. 


Wait a while, and all shall be well ; he will come flying with deliver.ance 
when the hour is come. Thus, if a man do pray and wait, he shall be 
heart-whole quickly. What saith the apostle in this case ? Phil. iv. 7, 
* And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your 
hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.' As though he should say, You 
think the cross causes this disquietness, carking and caring ; but if you 
trust, wait, and pray, you shall have quietness and ease in the most bois- 
terous afflictions. 

Use. The use hereof is, to take no more such unprqfitabte courses for com- 
fort and ease in afflictions, as we have done in running to broken cisterns that 
can hold no water. It is usual with us, when afflictions are great, and 
pressing down, to complain, Oh, I have great crosses, never the like ; they 
are beyond my strength ; God is against me, and these and these afflict 
me. But the truth is, if we look to it, we may say. My folly, my pride, 
my foolishness, distrust, unbelief, and our great* hearts, these be the 
special causes that disquiets us. So that if we would have a quiet heart 
in trouble, and a happy end of it, we must hearken to God. He loves us 
as well in trouble as out of trouble, and there is a medicine in the word 
against all troubles whatsoever. Then he asks, 

' Doth the ploughman plough all day to sow ?' &c. 

Doct. 2. Hence we see all God's children must he ploughed. All the 
elect are compared to God's husbandry, all who must be ploughed and 
humbled. To this the Lord exhorts them, Hos. x. 12, * Sow to yourselves 
in righteousness, reap in mercy, break up your fallow ground,' &c. God 
hath no heath nor brakes in his church but are or shall be ploughed ; they 
shall at one time or other have deep furrows made in them; they shall go 
whither they would not ; all must be taken down. 

Reason. And there is great reason for it ; for naturally, all the elect of 
God be as subject to that would cross and keep down the seed as others. 
They have thorns and brambles growing, weeds of all sorts, which would 
quickly mar them if they were not soundly ploughed. Job for this pur- 
pose says that ' man new born is like an ass's colt ; nay, like a wild ass's 
colt,' Job xi. 12. A tame ass might perhaps be ruled, but a wild ass's 
colt, this is worst of all. So is man following his own reason, led by his 
own affections, passions, desires, and actions. We would run riot, never 
be tamed unless the Lord did plough us and cause us break up our fallow 
ground. Even God's elect are foolish, worldly, covetous, full of envy, 
lusts, passions, mistakings, ignorance, and the like. God's ploughing 
helps all, tempers the ground better, digs out and keeps down the weeds, 
and makes the seed to grow, which otherwise would be cropped and 
destroyed. Thus, howsoever we may think of ourselves, and please our- 
selves in a thing of nought, no corn is more apt to have weeds amongst it 
than our hearts, unmastered, are unfit to bear or bring forth fruits of grace. 
We would think a husbandman foolish and mad that would sow corn 
amongst grass, where, having no root, it must rot, and not grow, the 
ground being unploughed. So we must hold this judgment in ourselves ; 
for unless our hearts be tamed, no good seed will grow or take root there. 
To this effect our Saviour speaks : John xv. 2, ' Every branch in me that 
beareth not fruit he taketh away ; and every branch that beareth fruit, he 
purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.' If God be a husbandman, 
we shall be ploughed and pruned to make us be fruitful, lest we grow wild, 
and so be only fuel for condemnation. 

* That is = ' proud,'— G. 


The uses are, 

Use 1. First, tiot to envy those xcho are not thorowjhly jjloiir/hed with afflic' 
tions, for to admire the happiness of such, is no more than if a man should 
pass through a barren heath, and say this is good gi'ound. I say no ; if 
it were so, it should not lie unploughed. So we may fear of the state of 
many wicked men ; unless they repent, they are not God's ; were they of 
his husbandry they should be ploughed. 

Use 2. Secondly, If we be of God's husbandry, and would be thought 
so indeed, then t]iink tvo not the fiery trial of our ploughing to be a strange 
new thing, that God should sometimes set so sore upon us and plough us to 
our cost. If we would have an easier way, take the prophet's counsel, 
' Plough up your fallow ground, and sow no more amongst thorns.' Oh, 
but some may say, I read and pray, and go to sermons. Ay, but you sow 
amongst thorns if thorns come up ; look to this. The husbandman will 
plough indeed, but he will not sow amongst thorns. The church com- 
plains, Ps. cxxix. 3, ' The ploughers ploughed upon my back, and they 
made long their furrows.' Why did God suffer this ? They were ploughed 
deep indeed, but had no hurt by it, but only ploughed them so as to be fit 
and good ground. Because in her ploughing she ploughed short, and left 
many balks and patches unploughed ; therefore when we plough not our- 
selves as we should, it is a mercy of God to send us many ploughers. God 
will plough us rather than we should be overtaken with sins. God will find 
other means of afllictions to plough us. If, therefore, we plough ourselves 
soundly, crosses when they come will not do us so much hurt. If we our- 
selves be not guilty of neglect this way, afflictions when they come will be 
nothing so weighty, or of continuance. It follows : 

The first comparison. 

' Doth he open and break the clods of his ground, when he hath made 
plain the face thereof ?' &c. The sum is, as if he should say, I appeal to 
your consciences, if you did see a husbandman ploughing and breaking the 
clods of his ground, casting out rubbish and the like, would you imagine 
he did spoil the ground, to break it up so always, and be still digging in 
it ? Sure no. From our confession he would have it, that no husband- 
man knows so well how to plough, dig, and when to make an end of plough- 
ing and afflicting as he doth, whose infinite knowledge and skill is beyond 
all others' knowledge, and therefore will make an end of ploughing his chil- 
dren in the best time. Whereby we learn thus much, 

Doct. 3. God xvill make a siveet and seasonable end of afflicting his chil- 
dren. He doth correct us for our profit, that we may be partakers of his 
holiness : for, as it is, Ps. cxxv. 3, ' The rod of the wicked shall not rest 
upon the lot of the righteous, lest the righteous put forth his hand unto 
iniquity.' Miseries and afllictions never rest till they meet with wicked 
men ; but on the righteous they come as a sojourner, which comes to tarry 
a while and so be gone ; it shall not rest on them. And why so ? Because, 
if God did not help us betimes, we would either murmur, or use some ill 
means to help ourselves. God will therefore make a good and seasonable 
end of the afflictions of his children. 

Ohj. Ay, but when will God will make an end of afflicting his servants ? 
How shall it be known when he will make an end ? 

Ans. Why, as husbandmen, when the clods lie high, bring the harrow 
over the same, that the seed may spring through with the more ease ; and 
when the weeds are ploughed and weeded out that would mar all, then he 
■will make an end ; and then affliction shall cease when the ground is made 


smootli and apt to bear and be fruitful in due season. Whence we may 
observe this much, 

Doct. 4. When the Lord hath made us plain, and hath fitted us with hearts 
to receive good seed, then is the time of rest. If a man would plough in seed- 
time, we would think this a foolish, unwise action. God's ploughing is 
seasonable to cleanse and purge us, that we may have all fit helps to 
enable us for his service, as it is written, Isa. xxvii. 9, ' By this there- 
fore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged, and this is all the fruit to take 
away his sin,' &c. 

Use. Therefore, if we would have a good and a speedy end of our crosses, 
fears, and afflictions, if we would have rest, and God to make an end of 
ploughing us, we must labour to be plain and even ground, to take down 
the pride of our hearts and wills ; all high things, and everything which 
exalts itself, must be cast down and laid low. Many of God's children yet 
are weary, and suifering, and cry out. Oh when, when shall there be an 
end ? In this case, I say, see in what fitness thy heart is brought to attend 
upon the word, look in what measure it is engrafted in thy heart. When 
we can hear the word with joy, and the stream of our endeavours is that 
way, then we are near an end of our affliction ; when the ground is once 
made plain and fit, then the hour is come. 

What remains then ? When he hath made plain the face of the ground, 
he will sow seed, and the fittest seed, and do it in measure with wisdom. 
Whence observe : 

Doct. 5. When God hath humbled us by his word, then he will furnish 
and arm us with his word, and enable us tvith strength that ivay. This is a 
difference betwixt his teaching of godly and wicked men : the one are 
the better, and mend by it ; the other worse and worse ; for the godly, 
with ploughing, he doth instruct and teach them, and make them pliable, 
it being contrary with the wicked. Many heaths, you know, do meet with 
streams and floods of water, and yet are nothing the better nor more fruit- 
ful ; but God's arable, the saints, they are ploughed and instructed, as the 
psalmist speaks : * Blessed is the man whom thou correctest, and teachest 
in thy law,' &c., Ps. xciv. 12. To have the one without the other is 
nothing, and does no good, but when correction and teaching go together, 
then one sees all the good of affliction, and why God sent it upon him. 
It is said in the Hebrews, that, * he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth :' 
he corrects them, and convinces them of that evil by his word, of that sin 
which brought such and such a misery upon them, and makes them ac- 
knowledge God's justice in it. Conviction is this, when I bring evident 
reasons unanswerable, for to prove that which I would bring another to 
practise and believe. Now, we must acknowledge God's goodness unto us, 
that gives us not the one without the other, not correction only, but his 
word also to instruct and teach us. Hereby we know afflictions come from 
God's love, when they make us in love with the word, and cleave unto it. 
When we see a husbandman in a field ploughing, and one in a garden 
digging, we hope for good corn, fine herbs and flowers ere long; so we may 
say. Thus doth the Lord ; now he is a-ploughing and digging of my heart : 
it is because he means to sow good seed, the seed of eternal life therein. 
Now, understand thou therefore by afflictions, when God is the husbandman, 
and afflictions the seed, there must come a good crop of it ; God will make 
it multiply and increase abundantly to our comfort, whatsoever the diffi- 
culties be which may seem to hinder the growth of it. The reason hereof 
is added in the next place. 



' For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him.' 
Whence, in brief, learn we thus much : 

Voct. 6. Skill 171 hushandry is the gift of God, wisdom must come from him. 
' Every good gift, and every perfect gift,' says James, ' is from above, and 
Cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, nor 
shadow of turning,' James i. 17. So, in other deep things, wherein we 
have ability to discourse of, know, and practise, let us give God the praise. 
Usually we are prone to sacrifice to our own nets, to magnify nature in our 
actions which we do wisely ; but, know we, all is of God. If we did 
believe this, we would never be proud of our skill, and wit, and whatsoever 
gifts, but labour rather to use it to God's glory, and the good of others. 
Now comes 

The second comparison. 

' For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is 
a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin,' &c. Hence see, 

Doct. 7. All God's grain needs threshing and ploughing ; and as they need 
it, so they shall have it. There is no husbandman but he sends his corn 
to the mill ; wheat, or barley, and all sorts of grain must be purged and 
winnowed, ere it be useful and serviceable unto us. And whereas he speaks 
of divers grains, some more useful and excellent than others, this shews 
that some be of more excellent degree in the church than others. But the 
sum is, that all the best corn hath chafi", and all shall and must be purged, 
which shall ever be of use to God's service, and the good of others, as 
Zech. xiii. 9. All God's third must be purged and passed through the 
fire. As the best gold and silver hath dross in it, which must be purged 
and refined, so the best Christians must be melted, in a manner, and tried; 
but he shews they shall lose nothing by afflictions but the dross and chaff", 
which shall be purged out, during which trial as he brings them into the 
fire, so he will be with them in it, and bring them through it in safety. 

; It is said, 'Bread corn is bruised, because he will not ever be threshing 
it.' This shews, 

Doct. 8. The best grain shall have the sorest trial, and hardest pressure. 
So God proportions answerable crosses to our strength, and no further. 
The rest have not such manner of usage. The fitches are not threshed 
with a threshing instrument, but are beaten with a staff" ; neither is a cart 
wheel turned about upon the cummin, but beaten with a rod ; but the 
wheat must have the wheel go on it. The meaning is an allusion unto that 
manner of the ancient Jews in treading their wheat, as appears by that 
precept, ' Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox or the ass that treadeth 
down thy corn,' Deut. xxv. 4, for then the oxen, drawing a wheel over the 
wheat, did so bruise it, but not break it. So the best Christians and 
patriarchs have been visited with sore and hard trials. Jacob, even after 
the blessing, how grievous crosses and afflictions endured he ! how was he 
tossed and tumbled up and down ! Alas, saith the prophet, speaking of a 
great calamity, ' it is a time of great trouble, there is none like it : it is like 
the time of Jacob's trouble ; yet he shall be delivered,' Jer. xxx. 7. And 
Abraham, the friend of God, had many, and sore afflictions. The prophets 
also, you know how they had all their several crosses in life, many in life 
and death. Jeremiah complains of his persecutors, which were many. 
Holy David, a man of sorrows all his lifetime, how was he vexed with 
variety of crosses, one after another ! What shall I say of Job, the mirror 
of patience, and his many sorrows ? And the apostles, were they not the 


chiefest men next unto Christ ? and yet all destinate to sore and great 
afflictions and trials, so that the nearer they were unto him, the greater 
were their afflictions. 

Reason. And that because God thereby doth humble us and make us 
heavenly-minded, and keeps us low, for if God did not thus put water 
amongst our wine, and now and then give us vinegar and wormwood to 
drink, we would have been proud, and lifted up above measure : as we read 
of Paul, he was buffeted, and had a prick in the flesh to keep him under, 
2 Cor. xii. 7. For, as the main posts and beams of a house are laid forth 
a long time ere they be used, endure many winds, storms, and tempests, 
lest, being unseasoned, they should warp, bear no weight, and shrink, 
marring the building, so God's warriors, the main posts of his spiritual 
building, if not seasoned with winds and tempests of afflictions, they would 
grow to ease and pomp, to abound in vanity. Therefore, that they may 
bear weight, and not warp or shrink, but hold out, Paul, a chosen vessel, 
what shall be told him ? Why, this, ' I will tell him what he shall suff'er 
for my name's sake,' saith our Lord, Acts ix. 16. 

Use. The use hereof, briefly, is thus much, to reform our judgments, to be 
comforted, not to he dismayed, nor condemn ourselves or others because of great 
afflictions. The afflictions of wicked men make them more proud ; but 
what afflictions bring out more prayers, and drive us nearer to God, these 
are happy afflictions. ' It is good for me,' saith David, ' that I have been 
afflicted, for thereby I have learned thy law,' Ps. cxix. 71. When we are 
come thus far, then we shall be no more bruised. He knows how to deliver 
his own out of temptation, and how to moderate the cross when they have 
been humbled, and make a speedy and a seasonable end, even of great 
crosses. As a wise husbandman knows when to stay the wheel of his cart, 
when the wheat is, and when it is not, enough bruised ; as he is careful of 
the treading and bruising, so is he also of rest and ease, the work being 
done ; much more so is the Lord careful of his spiritual husbandry, 
not to overdo, but to give his children sufficient ploughing, in measure, 
and not beyond measure. Oh, but some for all this cry out, Oh, I have 
been long afflicted, things are worse and worse, I see no hope of any end ; 
the more I pray, all is one, no deliverance comes, I grow more impatient, 
not able to hold out. Sure, if this cross continue thus and thus, it will 
make an end of me. Oh the foolishness of flesh and blood ! What is the 
matter ? Knowest thou in whose hands thou art ? Look about thee, unto 
the experience and confession of all the saints, and unto which of them 
canst thou turn thee, who have not been the better by their afflictions, and 
come forth as the gold, as Job assured himself he should before his deUvery, 
Job xxiii. 10. Look upon^them, and see what end the Lord made. This 
is as much as for thee to say, the Lord is an ill husbandman ; he can, 
indeed, tread his corn, but he knows not when it is enough bruised, or he 
is careless of it, indifferent whether it be broken or spoiled, or what come 
of it. Oh take heed, know thou^that thy God, who gives the husbandmen 
all their discretion, much more doth he know the best time and fittest for 
thy deliverance. Which is now the nest point to speak of. 

' Bread corn is bruised, because he will not ever be threshing it, nor 
break it with the wheels of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen.' The 
point is this, 

Doct. 9. God almighty knows best, and he appoints what shall he the 
means, time, and measure of the trials of his children. He knows what is 
the fittest instrument to purge his grain with. The husbandman, he knows 


the fittest instruments to purge his corn with : ' The fitches are beaten with 
a staff, and the cummin with a rod, the wheel going over the wheat;' much 
more God will have the fittest rod, to do all in love, and for our good. 
Thus he corrects all he loves. I note this so much the more, because, in 
a gi'eat cross we are ready to fly out, and say, Oh, if it had been any cross, 
any trouble but this, I could have borne it, but oh, this, this, I know not how 
to benr it. Why, what's the matter ? Know, none was so good or fit for 
thee as this. Might the patient appoint the potion or plaster to be applied 
and taken, it is like he might perish, or the wound rot ; he would endure 
no corrosive to eat out the proud* and dead flesh, nor anything to make him 
sick, and purge out his bad humours. So, if we might have what instru- 
ment or cross we list to appoint, our corruptions would never be mastered 
and cured. If a child should see his father use the wheel to bruise and 
fit the wheat for purging and winnowing, and should come and say, Father, 
why do you use this instrument? this were better; would not we judge such 
a one to be a foolish, rash child, and that a frivolous, idle question ? 
Surely so is the case with us, when we cry out, Oh, were it any other instru- 
ment, or any other cross but this, I could bear it. No ; thou deceivest 
thyself; we cannot, without him, bear the least, and supported by his 
strength, we shall be able to bear the greatest. Job had many and strong 
crosses, and many creatui'es against him, — the Sabeans, Chaldeans, wind, 
and fire from heaven, — yet he would not do them that credit, as to think 
or say, it was the Sabeans or Chaldeans that destroyed his substance, but 
this, ' The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh, blessed be the name of the 
Lord,' Job i. 21. 

Use. The use hereof is. Since the Lord himself appoints the instrument, 
time, measure, and ending of our afllictions, therefore never fear, ive shall 
not be overpressed or overborne by them, as Isa. xxvii. 8, ' In measure he 
will contend with us, he stayeth his rough wind in the day of his east wind' ; 
and Job xxxiv 23, it is said, ' He will not lay upon man more than right, 
that he should enter into judgment with God ;' and the apostle says, 1 
Peter i. 6, that ' these afflictions are but for a season (if need be), otherwise 
we should not be in heaviness through manifold temptations.' Therefore, 
always think and be persuaded of this, that his instrument is the best. 
Every one shall be beaten with the fittest rod, and not too long nor too 
much. He who is able to make a good and a hoh' use of a former afflic- 
tion, having his ground made plain and fit for good seed, he shall have the 
cross mitigated or removed, with a comfortable issue of all his troubles. 

But how shall all this be made good ? What assurance may we have of 
this discreet and seasonable ploughing, in time, measure, and continuance, 
we having so many enemies without us, and corruptions within us ? ' This 
also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, 
and excellent in working.' From hence we observe, 

Doct. 10. God, in the chastisements, trials, and afflictions of his elect, hath 
wonderful wisdom and power beyond onr wulerstandiny. He knows not only 
which is the best way to lead us to heaven, but also he is excellent in work- 
ing, to bring his counsel to pass. See it in examples. As in Joseph, 
appointed to be the greatest save Pharaoh in all Egypt. First, he is sold 
for a slave. Secondly, acciTsed falsely by his mistress ; so cast into prison, 
that for a long time, as it is Ps. cv. 18, ' the iron entered in his feet, until 
the Lord's time was come.' What meant God thus to suffer an innocent 
man to be wronged and disgraced ? He was * wonderful in counsel ' all 
* That is 'inflamed'— G. 


this while. One might think at first that counsel was darkened without 
knowledge ; but, indeed, this affliction was the best means for him, as upon 
stairs, to climb up to his preferment. Besides all this, while in the prison, 
God so tamed him that he bare all patiently. He could not have come to 
ihis honour, nor borne it as became him, unless the Lord had first thus 
ploughed him. So David, after he was anointed king, in a state of 
honour, and all pomp and pleasure, how was he vexed and ploughed with 
many crosses ? In all likelihood he lived a much better and quieter life 
when he was a shepherd. What means was this to raise him, to be so 
afflicted ere he came to it ? He was humbled and acquainted with God 
by these trials, which drove him to prayer, to believe, trust, and wait upon 
God ; and then, all these were helps to fit and enable him for his kingdom. 
So at Ziklag, his wives and] all his goods were taken away ; the flesh had 
a bout,* he wept till he could weep no more ; yet then was God excellent in 
working ; Saul was overthrown within a while ; and the Amalekites, having 
much goods together, he asked counsel of God, being but four hundred men, 
and overtook, overthrew them, and had a great spoil, being able to send 
presents and rewards to all his men. So that which was at first a strange 
and uncouth thing, a most grievous cross, was turned into a very great 
blessing. So God was wonderful in counsel, to put all their store in his 
possession ; secondly, he was excellent in working, his enemies had no 
heart to withstand him. 

Use. The use is, therefore, to he patient, because in all troubles and afflic- 
tions 'he is wonderful in counsel;' and all his works are beautiful in time, 
which we shall see when both ends of the cross shall meet ; and though 
we see not which way things shall be eiiected, yet he is infinite in wisdom. 
If we will but be quiet, stand still, and see his salvation, we shall see a 
wonderful issue, if we wait in patience. 

Obj. Oh but, say some, they come, I know, from God ; but I cannot 
bear this cross, I see no fruit of the working thereof upon me. 

Ans. I say. Yet stay a while ; as it is true his physic always works at 
length, so it is as true that he is not bound it shall work by and by at all 
times. Perhaps this is not good for thee ; yet know, that as he is ' wonder- 
ful in counsel,' so he is also ' excellent in working.' We give counsel 
many times, and cannot make the party follow it ; but God can, he hath 
power, and wisdom, and will abundantly ; he who gives the purge, can 
cause it work to purpose ; he who applies the plaster, can make it cure 
and heal, and in the best time ; therefore we must be comforted in all our 
troubles with these considerations. 

Lastly, to conclude, where he says, ' This also comes forth from the 
Lord of hosts,' thereby he shews, 

Doct. 11. That nothing can stay him from ivorklng, to hinder our comfort 
and deliverance in due time. Why ? IBecause ' he is Lord of hosts,' and 
all the creatures are his soldiers at command, and must do what he will, 
as, Isa. liv. 16, he most excellently shews, that no weapon without him 
shall prosper to hurt his people : ' For,' saith he, ' behold I have created 
the smith that bloweth the coals of the fire, and that bringeth forth an 
instrument for his work, and I have created the water f to destroy;' there- 
fore he overrules all things to work for our good, so as we shall have a 
seasonable, happy, and blessed end to all our afflictions. Oh, if we could 
believe this, how happy were it for us ! — that God is the Lord of hosts, 
that the devil is chained up, and all the creatures, from hurting us, till he 
* That is, ' round ' = turn.— G. t Q^i- ' waster '?— Ed. 


arm them with his power against us ; that he is a fiery wall about us, and 
hath hedged us, and all that we have, about ; that he loves us, pities us, 
delights not in chastising and afflicting us ; that he doth it not willingly, 
but enforced, in a manner, for our good ; and that all the while, as the 
prophet Isaiah speaks, ' he waits to have mercy upon us,' Isa. xxx. 18, 
having a certain appointed time for our deliverance. This, I say, being 
believed, would help to carry our heads above water, in all the tempestu- 
ous waves of our afflictions, so as to expect and hope for the accomplish- 
ment of this divine scripture : that, as the ploughman will not plough all 
the day to sow, &c., no more will our all-sufficient, only wise God; but 
will make a happy and comfortable end of his spiritual husbandry, in the 
best and fittest time, to the everlasting comfort and salvation of his 




' Matchless Mercy' forms No. 22 of the original ' Saint's Cordials,' 1629. It was 
not included in the after-editions. Its separate title-page will be found below.* 


* THE 


In One Seemon. 

the Excellency and wonder of Divine Mercy in par- 
doning and subduing of sinne in us. 


may induce the soule to beleeve and ap- 
prehend the same. 

Prgolucendo Pereo. 

Vpeightnes Hath Boldnes. 

PsAL. 144. 9, 10. 
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger, and of great mercy. 
The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his workes. 


Printed in the yeare 1629. 


Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquit;/, and passclh by trans- 
gression of the remnant of his heritage ? he retaineth not his anger for ever, 
because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion 
upon us ; he will sicbdue our iniquities : and thou wilt cast all their si7is 
in the depth of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the 
mercy to Abraham, ivhich thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the daijs 
ofold.—MiCAB. VII. 18-20. 

The drift and scope of this place is to shew God's infinite and constant 
mercies unto his children, who are tossed and tumbled in a world of 
miseries of this life, sometimes being altogether void of comfort and the 
sense of God's love ; and this is two ways propounded : 

1, In the benefits they receive ; 2, in the reasons moving unto the same. 

The benefits he promiseth are in number two : 

1, Justification by the blood of Christ ; 2, sanctification by his Spirit. 

Now, this justification is set forth, for our better understanding, by divers 
arguments : 

1. He shews what he will take away, viz.. 

First, He says he will take away original sin, in these words, ' pardoneth 

Secondly, He sheweth that he will take away our rebellion in these words, 
' and passeth by transgression.' In sum, he sheweth that he will take away 
both the root and the fruits of sin. 

2. He sheweth the fruits of this justification in this, what he will 
pass by. 

' He passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage.' The 
sum is, he will both forgive and forget. The original, in the time present, 
thus reads it, 'taking away,' arguing and shewing a continual act of God, 
even a continual act of mercy in him ; implying, that as there is a con- 
tinual spring of original corruption in us, which staineth all our best 
actions, making us continually liable to the wrath of God, so that in him 
there is a continual spring of mercy flowing from him, both to pardon and 
wash away this iniquity («). 

And now having shewed this benefit of justification, in the next place 
he Cometh to describe the persons who shall obtain this great favour two 
ways : 


1, They are but a remnant; 2, they are God's heritage. 
Now, before he come unto the other benefit of sanctification, he answereth 
two objections : 

Olj. First, "Whereas some poor souls may object, "What ! how can this 
be ? Is God such a God who pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the 
same ? I find my sins to lie heavy and sore upon me ; they accuse me 
day and night, and they pursue me. 

Ans. To this he answers, True it is God is forced to take notice of your 
sins, to let them accuse you, to curb and keep you in. If we will not take 
notice of our sins, then God must do the same. Yet, saith he, for your 
comfort rejoice, he * retaineth not his anger for ever;' be patient a while, 
and you shall see deliverance, it is for your good that you are thus 

Obj. Ay, but here, because the afflicted soul may again object. But I am 
not only troubled with outward crosses and afflictions, but also many inward 
tentations do assail me ; I have committed sins of knowledge and presump- 
tion since my calling; I have trespassed against my enlightening, grieved 
the Spirit, I have forced God to depart from me ; this seemeth hard, to be 
without the favour of God. 

Ajis. To this he answereth. It is true : God, to your thinking, seemeth to 
be gone from you. Ay, but despair not, stay your mind in peace a while ; 
he hath but turned away his face for a little, he will turn again, he will have 
compassion upon you, &c. Though he correct and humble you for a while, 
yet you shall have a joyful issue of all. Now, having propounded this first 
mercy of our justification, he cometh to, 

2. The second benefit, of sanctification, and it is amplified by two 
degrees : 

1, In this life; 2, in the life to come. 

For the first he says, ' He will subdue our iniquities ;' that is, though 
at first we were sinful, ruled and overruled by our sins, yet now, when God 
cometh unto us thus in justification, working sanctification, he says he 
will subdue them; that is, by little and little he will master them, so that 
the force and power of them shall be taken away. 

Secondly, He sheweth that all the sins of those whom he subdueth he 
■will throw into the bottom of the sea. To understand which we must call 
to mind a history of former times, which is, that the Lord will deal with 
our sins as sometimes he did with the temporal enemies of his people. 
When Pharaoh and his army pursued them, the Lord did overthrow the 
chariots and horsemen of Egypt, and drowned them in the bottom of the 
sea; unto which the Spirit of God alludeth here, that he will, for assur- 
ance's sake, for ever drown all our sins ; so that, as the Lord said to Moses, 
' The Egyptians whom ye have now seen, ye shall not see any more,' 
Exod. xiv. 13; so here the Lord saith, that our sins, which vexed us, we 
shall never hereafter see any more, for he will drown all our sins from out 
of his sight; they shall never any more either vex us or grieve him, they 
shall be all cast into the bottom of the sea. 

Now, the reasons moving God are taken from his nature : 
1, From his mercy; 2, from his truth, aided with four reasons thereof. 
For the first he saith, for mercy pleaseth him, or, ' he delighteth in 

For the second, of God's truth, because above all things we are full of 
infidelity, and hardly believe this, therefore he strengtheneth and confirmeth 
it with divers other reasons. 


First, From antiquity. It is an ancient truth, even from the days of old, 
so that a thing of so ancient a truth must needs be beheved. 

Secondly, From the often repetition thereof: * to Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacob.' So that a truth that hath been so often repeated, must needs be 

Thirdly, It is a truth confirmed by many witnesses, even a truth known 
of all our fathers ; so that must needs be true which is confirmed by such 
a cloud of witnesses. 

Fourthly, If all this will not serve, yet he says that ' God hath sworn 
it.' It is as true as God's truth; so that better it were that all the world 
should fail, than God should fail of his truth. And therefore, if we will 
needs keep and observe our oaths, much more must God. It stands him 
to defend his truth. Thus far of the opening and meaning of the words ; 
now let us come to the instructions rising from hence. 

And first, in that we see in the coherence of the text, he cometh in, as it 
were in a triumph, challenging all the powers in heaven and earth, angels and 
devils, with admiration, crying, 'Who is a God like unto thee,' &c., we learn 

I)oct. 1. There is none so merciful as God. So the Lord speaketh, 
Isa. xlix. 13, ' Can a woman forget her child, and not have compassion 
upon the son of her womb ? Though they should forget, yet will not I 
forget thee,' &c. He sheweth here that all natural compassion is nothing 
to that great care God hath of us. So Ps. ciii. 13, 'As a father hath 
compassion on his children, so the Lord hath compassion on them that 
fear him.' So also we may see the same practised by examples. For at 
first when Adam had forfeited his estate, flying away out of God's presence, 
yet we see God cometh, and findeth him out, then forgives his sin, and 
lastly, comforts him in the promise of the blessed seed, Gen. iii. 15. And for 
the loss of a paradise upon earth, he bringeth him to a far more glorious 
and eternal paradise in heaven. So Saul, Acts ix. 3, et seq.,^ going unto 
Damascus in fury and rage to persecute the saints, we see Christ he comes 
unto him, finds him out, lovingly reasons the matter with him, and for- 
gives him, sending him unto the means of his final conversion. Thus as 
of sins of nature, so of sins after regeneration, we may see the like. When 
David had sinned in adultery and murder, before he could half make con- 
fession of his sin, the Lord he meets him as it were half way, and pardon- 
eth his sin, putteth it quite away from his sight, imputeth not the same 
unto him ; so that we may justly cry out also with this prophet, ' Who is 
a God like unto thee ?' &c. The reasons are divers. 

Reason 1. First, Because mercy is God's nature. It is his name, even 
an attribute as infinite as himself. And he himself being infinite for 
measure, infinite in continuance, so his mercy must needs be as infinite as 
himself. . 

Reason 2. Secondly, Because all creatures in heaven and earth have their 
mercy by derivation from this mercy of God. In him it is his nature, _ in 
us derived, as a drop to the ocean, from him ; so is all our mercy nothing 
else but a drop of his infinite mercy : so that he is merciful above all. 

Reason 8. Thirdly, Because mercy in God is free, without any cause m 
us moving him to the same. In us mercy and love is still procured by 
something in the party we love. In God it is not so, for he loveth freely, 
without any moving cause in us : so that his mercy is over all his works. 

Use. The use is. Is it so that mercy is God's nature, is an infinite 
essence, is free in him ? Why then, in all distresses, let us come running freely 



unto him, and reaching out the hand of faith, let us confidently promise 
unto ourselves whatsoever mercies the best child hath ever found from the 
most kind and tender-hearted father and mother ; for it is certain, if we 
come unto God, and have a good conceit of his mercy, and of the infinite 
immensible* depth, and length, and breadth, and height thereof, that we 
shall return from the throne of grace filled with a great measure of this 

As the prodigal son, before he resolved to go unto his father, he had 
first a good conceit of him by a secret comparison and unequals, — ' Oh,' 
saith he, ' how many hired servants are at my father's, and have bread 
enough, and I die for hunger ! therefore, I will rise, and go to my father,' 
&c., Luke XV. 17, — even so we come unto God very often with small com- 
fort. Why ? Because we have not a high conceit of God's attributes'; 
we judge of him like unto ourselves, and so we speed for the most part, 
departing as we came. And I pray you, if our children should lament, 
weep unto us, and bemoan themselves, would not we pity them ? What 
pride then is this in us, to think better of ourselves than of God ? If we 
be thus merciful, is not he much more merciful unto his children, since 
all our mercy is but a small drop of his infinite mercy ? It was a good 
speech uttered by Benhadad, though a heathen man, who because of a 
flying report he had, that the kings of Israel were merciful, did humble 
himself in sackcloth, and found mercy ; so, I say, if Ahab, a wicked man, 
upon this was merciful to Benhadad, though with his own destruction, how 
much more, do we think, doth God exceed in mercy ? So many of us 
want comfort, because we will not go unto him for mercy ; and therefore 
also do we want comfort even of our dearest friends, because God would have 
us run unto him, call earnestly for his mercy, be so much the more desirous 
thereof, and be acquainted with him. 

Now, in the second place, where he beginneth to reckon up what this 
mercy is, first he sheweth that he pardoneth iniquity, which is remission 
of sins ; where the doctrine is, 

Doct. 2. lliat it is the mercy of all mercies to have our sins forgiven, to 
have them covered, buried, and done quite away. Now there be many 
reasons to prove this, that it is the mercy of mercies to have our sins 

Reason 1. First, Because other mercies reprobate men may have, as an 
abstinence from some sins ; a show of sanctification, some outward gifts of 
the Spirit, &c., but this mercy none can have but the elect. 

Reason 2. Secondly, Because this benefit is the chiefest fountain which 
flowed from Christ's blood : ' He hath loved us, and washed away our sins 
with his own blood.' 

. Reason 3. Thirdly, Because it bringeth unto us the happiest fruits and 
benefits here and hence ; for, first, here ; by this we are at peace with God, 
yea, in a more perfect peace than God had with Adam before his fall. 
Secondly, by this we have peace of conscience. When God favours us, 
then our conscience favours us, and all is at peace when once we are 
sprinkled with the blood of Christ. Thirdly, he hath peace with all the 
creatures, even in league with the beasts of the field, as Job speaketh : so 
also for the world to come. 

Reason 4. Fourthly, This brings us to an everlasting peace in heaven, 
making us to be able that we may stand in the great day of his appearance 
without fear, as also now it is no small benefit, that God with forgiveness 
* That is, ' unmeasurable,' — G. 


of sins healeth the nature of his children, that sin and Satan shall never 
have their former dominion over them. 

Use 1. Since, then, we see this is so great a benefit and mercy to have 
our sins forgiven, it must teach all of us earnestly to prize it, since such are 
so blessed who have their sins forgiven. The means is, to pray often and 
earnestly for the forgiveness of the same ; to confess them often, and to 
appeal often to that payment which Christ liath already made for us ; for 
if we come to confess our sins before God, we come but to get an 
acquittance of that debt which Christ hath formerly paid for us. 

Use 2. Secondly, It is comfort unto such who have been sorry and 
grieved for their sins, who have got power against them, to be thankful for 
such deliverances, yea, to be thankful for all crosses in the mean time, for 
all such following crosses are but as wholesome medicines to cure our souls 
from our sins, that we may have our corruptions and the cry of sins 
removed. This is a great cause to rejoice, as Ps. ciii. 1, ' Praise the 
Lord, my soul, and all that is within me praise his holy name ; which 
forgiveth all thy sins,' &c. 

Ohj. But here the trembling soul may object. Oh, but I am sinful, and 
full of sins ! 

Ans. What then, if thou believe in Christ he hath paid all. Imagine 
two men did owe one of them a hundred thousand pounds, the other a 
small sum, having one surety for both, may not a man demand the hun- 
dred thousand of the party, as well as the little sum ? Even so I say, it 
is all one to Christ thy surety, to pay thy great debts as well as thy small 
ones, if thou come unto him. 

Obj. Ay, but here the trembling soul may object again. But I am a 
daily sinner, I sin again and again, how then shall I be sure to be still 
forgiven ? 

Ans. To this the Lord answereth, as it is in the original, in the present 
number, 'passing by iniquity,' arguing a constant, continual act in God of 
forgiving {b). He is more ready, saith he, to forgive than you to sin ; as 
there is a continual spring of wickedness in you, so there is a greater spring 
of mercy in God. It is not, as many think, that God expects that after 
regeneration we should sin no more ; no, he looks but that still we should 
be a-cleansing our bodies and souls, that we should still come unto him for 
new assurance. God he cleanseth us not like unto a cistern, which filleth* 
not again, but like unto a vessel that will fill* again, and so must still be 
emptied and filled, until it break by dissolution. 

Use 3. It is for imitation. Is God thus merciful unto us, and ready to 
forgive ? Why, then, we must labour to be like God, and merciful one to 

Obj. Oh, but my enemy hath a spring of evils against me. 

Ans. And I answer. But God hath a greater spring of mercy to forgive 
thee. Oh ! but it is great ! Oh ! but God hath forgiven us much more. 
And yet further, as St Luke saith, It is a matter of great credit to for- 
give, Luke vi. 35, for thereby we are declared to be the children of our 
heavenly Father. It is also matter of comfort for us, for if we forgive, so 
shall we also be forgiven. If a poor man had a few shiUings owing him, 
and he did owe the king many thousand pounds, were not he, think you, 
a mad man, that would not forgive the shillings to have the many thousand 
pounds forgiven him? Even so, we all owe many thousand pounds unto 
God; we must then forgive our shillings, that he may forgive our pounds. 
* Qu. ' fouleth ' and ' foul ' ?— Ed. 


And thus we see how the poor, as well as the rich, may be merciful even 
to forgive wrongs, to love for hatred, and the like. 

Having thus shewed you both what God doth forgive in the wonder of 
forgivenness of sins by a more wonderful mercy, and also how he doth for- 
give, none being like unto him, now he cometh to describe, 

Tlie persons who shall enjoy these great benefits ; and first, he calleth 
them God's heritage ; whence learn, 

Doct. 3. 'Hud God in a ivondeiful and special manner respecteth his heritage, 
the proof whereof, I need not stand upon it, is evident enough, and known 
both by his working since the creation, and in our time of the gospel. I 
come to reasons thereof. 

Reason 1. First, Because they are God's purchase; for, whereas the 
elect forfeited all their estates, he hath again purchased them by the blood 
of Christ. The rest of the world are none of his. If we then do make 
much of our purchases, much more will God do with his. This is the 
reason, because God hath paid a full and a valuable price for them all. 

Reason 2. Secondly, Because of his providence, in that he keepeth a 
continual watch over them, as it is Isa. xxvii. 3 ; there the Lord saith, ' I 
the Lord do keep it, I will water it every moment ; lest any hurt it, I will 
keep my vineyard night and day.' Again, he speaketh, John xv. 2, to 
same purpose, 'Every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it 
may bring forth more fruit.' 

Reason 3. Thirdly, Because he dwelleth amongst his church, and there- 
fore he will have a special care of his own heritage, to do them all manner 
of kindnesses. 

1^. Use 1. The uses are. Since, therefore, the Lord is so ready, present, and 
■willing to defend and prune his heritage, 1. We must labour to be fruitful 
unto him with some proportionable obedience, as Heb. vi. 7, 8. We see 
good ground will be fruitful and drink in the rain, and receiveth therefore 
a blessing from God ; but that which bringeth forth thorns and briers is 
rejected, being nigh unto cursing and burning. It is no strange thing to 
Bee brambles and thistles in a heath, but to see such weeds in a watered 
garden of good ground were more than strange. So let us look to it, and 
be sure, that now, when God hath bestowed much cost upon us, he looketh 
for some answerable fruits. 

Use 2. Secondly, It is matter of comfort unto us, that since God always 
dwelleth with his heritage, he therefore sees all our sorrows and cares ; 
and because of this his abode, for this cause the church shall stand, because 
he loveth his dwelling-place ; yea, though all the power of hell should be 
turned loose, yet they shall not hurt the church of God; yea, though their 
sin draw down judgments upon them, yet they shall not rest upon them for 

In the second place, we see the persons are described by calling them 
' a remnant,' ' a little flock,' whence the point is, 

Doct. 4. That the people of God be but a remnant in regard of the wicked, 
even like the gleanings of the corn, a small company, which is a cause they 
are so despised of the world. Whereof the uses are. 

Use 1. First, We must not be discouraged though we see few go with us 
in the way to heaven. Many are ready to object and cavil against such, 
but few are ready to profess and suffer with them ; yet, let all such who 
walk forward with the multitude, remember they are but a remnant which 
shall be saved. 

Use 2. Secondly, Is it so, that this small remnant is so opposed and 


scoffed at? Why then, let us labour so much the more to love and make 
much one of another, and thus we shall be assured to do more good, than 
all the power of hell can procure hurt unto us. The devil he labours to 
sow sedition amongst us ; but by love we shall overcome all. The church 
hath ever received more hurt by discord, than by open enemies. 

Having thus described the parties on whom these great mercies shall be 
bestowed, now he proceedeth to prevent* an objection of some troubled 
Bouls, which might arise from the former doctrine. 

Obj. You say that God is thus, and thus, and thus merciful,'^yet I feel 
him scourge me often and long together for my sins ; I am sure he seems 
to be angry for the time. 

Ans. To this he answereth, *He retaineth not his anger for ever.' 
Whence the doctrine ariseth, 

Doct. 5. That the afflictions of God's children shall have a seasonable and a 
speedy end. The Lord he knoweth best when it is good to begin, and when 
to make an end ; so the Lord speaketh, Isa. liv. 7, ' For a small moment 
have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee ; in a little 
wrath I hide my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kind- 
ness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy redeemer.' So saith 
the psalmist, 'Heaviness may come in the morning, but joy cometh in the 
evening,' Ps. xxx. 5. The reasons whereof be divers. 

Beason 1. The first is taken out of Lam. iii. 33, 'Because the Lord doth 
not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.' He doth it not to 
hurt us, but to mend us and make us come unto him, otherwise we would 
not come. 

;; Beason 2. Secondly, Because we, having such a sure friend in the court 
of heaven, even Christ Jesus, to make intercession for us at the right hand 
of the Father, it is not possible but our afflictions should have a seasonable 
end ; for if the church, having Esther, so sure a friend in the court of 
Ahasuerus, found by her so speedy and true dehverance, much more shall 
the church now, by the intercession of Christ, obtain deliverance from the 
court of heaven. 

Beason 3. Thirdly, We shall have speedy and seasonable deliverance 
from afflictions, because by afflictions we gain instruction. This leadeth 
us to humiliation and confession of sins, and then the Lord having bound 
himself by promise and oath, it is not possible but we must have deliver- 
ance. He cannot choose but be merciful. Whereof the ground is, that, 
look how soon God hath his end, which. is our unfeigned humiliation, con- 
fession, and amendment of Hfe, instantly we have also our end, which is 

Beason 4. Fourthly, They shall have speedy and seasonable deliverance, 
because he correcteth them only for their profit; lest, therefore, they should 
faint and mourn under the burden, he will and hath promised to hasten 
help, as the psalmist speaketh : ' The rod of the wicked shall not always 
rest upon the just, lest the wicked oppress and triumph over him.' Ex- 
cellently also to this purpose doth the Lord speak, Isa. Ivii. 16, 'I will not 
contend for ever, neither will I always be wroth : for the spirit shall fail 
before me, and the souls which I have made.' So, certain it is, God will 
not beat his children unto death ; he beateth not in revenge, but to bring 
home and amend us. The uses are, 

Use 1. Beproof to God's own dear servants, who, in a sharp and quick 
cross, where they see no issue, they begin to murmur and repine, saying, 
* That is, ' anticipate.' — G, 


Oh ! I shall never get out of this cross. But what, tell me, wouldst thou 
think of thy child, that, when thou art a-chastising him for some fault, 
would have such a conceit of thee, that thou wouldst beat him to death ? 
Miwhtest not thou think him an unnatural child? Yet much more un- 
natural are we unto God, who is a great deal more loving ; for if he once 
bec^in, we straight imagine that he will never make an end. But we ought 
not thus to repine, but rather quench his anger with repentant tears, and 
take away the fuel of sin which kindle th the sense of this wrath, and then 
the fire will cease. So let us take away the proud and dead flesh, and the 
plaster will quickly fall away. 

Use 2. Secondly, We must hereby learn to imitate and be like unto God. 
If we will needs be now and then angry, let it be quickly gone ; let us 
spend our anger upon our sins, and not let the sun go down upon our 

But now here ariseth another objection, worse than the former, for the 
troubled soul might object. Oh ! but I have driven God quite away by my 
innumerable sins; I have lost my feeling, angered my God, grieved the 
Spirit, and forced God to depart from me. This is a miserable estate; but 
yet the prophet, in the next verse, answereth, for the comfort of such, that 
he is not quite gone away, 'He will turn again,' saith he, 'and have com- 
passion,' &c. Whence I gather, 

Doct. 6. Those who have once had any saving comfort, they sludl have it 
again. We see David, he quenched the Spirit, made a foul house, brought 
ail things out of frame ; he kept his union with God, but he lost his com- 
munion°with Christ. The graces of the Spirit were seeming dead in him, 
yet this man had much comfort again, and did much good to the church, 
and died in peace and prosperity. So we see. Cant. iii. 1, the church at 
first quite lost Christ, in a manner ; she had no feeling, yet she sought 
him up and down ; nay, she went through all the means of salvation, yet 
found not Christ. It seems a strange thing, that sometimes one should 
use all holy means, and yet find no comfort or feeling ; yet is it most true. 
But what then ? She went a little further, and then she found him whom 
her soul loved. So let us always learn this much, that when we have used 
all the means to find feeling and comfort in vain, yet to go a little further, 
which is, to wait in patience for God's good time, and to hope above hope, &c., 
and then we see the issue — we shall find him whom our soul loveth; yea, 
then he will enable us to lay surer hold upon him than ever, and also keep 
him surer. So Peter, he fell for a while, yet we know Christ came again 
unto him, and made sure work, that he was the stronger for ever. The 
reasons are plain. 

Reason 1. First, Because all God's saving graces be given for everlasting, 
therefore they shall never be finally taken away from his children, as those 
outward graces of the Spirit, which were in Saul, was. 

Reason 2. Secondly, He will turn again and have compassion, though he 
turn away his face, because his heart is near unto us ; hke unto a mother, 
who in seeming anger turneth away her face from her child, yet she longeth 
until she turn again, even so the Lord when his face is turned from his 
children, he longeth until he turn again and have compassion, &c. 

Reason 3. Thirdly, Because of all burdens the absence of God's favour is 
so intolerable, which absence Christ himself at that time could not endure, 
but cries out, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' Mat. xxvii. 
46. And David, you know, he cries out, 'Thy loving kindness is better 
than life,' Ps. Ixiii. 3. Therefore, I say, God being a most loving Father unto 


his children, and knowing how precious his favour is unto them, and how 
grievous his absence, that they cannot live without him, why then, as sure 
he is God, and goodness itself, no more can he be without them ; he will 
turn again and have compassion, though not in our time, yet in a better 
time, even in such a time as he shall see fittest ; therefore let us not be 
dismayed, but redouble our courage. 

Use 1, The use hereof is, first, reproof unto suoh who say, that if their 
peace be once lost, oh ! they shall never have it again, they shall never have 
comfort, favour, or feeling of God's love. But mark our error : we in this 
case judge God to be like unto a man, who will say. Oh ! I will never again 
love this man, who hath deceived me. But let us remember that God did 
foresee all our errors and sins that ever we should commit, before we did 
commit the same. Now if these our sins, befoi'e our calling, which in the 
course of our life we were to commit, being all before God's face, could 
not hinder his love unto us, what folly is it to think that now, after our 
efiectual calling, our sins which he foresaw can stay his mercies from us. 
This the apostle aimeth at, Rom. v. 10, ' For if, whilst we were enemies, we 
were reconciled unto God by the death of his son ; much more, being 
reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.' So that most certain it is he will 
turn again and have compassion. For if a father should foresee such and 
such faults in his son, do you think he would punish his son for those faults 
which he foresaw would of necessity be in him ? Certainly he would not. 
Though he seemed angry, yet he would love him still. 

Use 2, Secondly, If "we have lost our feeling, like the chu»ch, Cant. iii. 1, 
let us seek it again night by night, that is, constantly, diligently, and 
earnestly ; as Isa. Ixii. 7, let us give God no rest until he return ; let us, 
with David, entreat him to 'restore unto us his Spirit again,' Ps. li. 12. 
Now, restoring argueth a former having, so he will return, and have com- 
passion, according to the multitude of his mercies. 

Having thus at length propounded and spoken of the first benefit God 
promiseth, of justification, now he cometh unto the second, of 

Santification, 1. In this life ; 2. In the life to come. 

First, then, /or this life. After he hath spoken of justification, now he 
cometh to santification, as a necessary, inseparable fruit thereof; and 
sheweth, that whensoever God cometh to have mercy upon us, then he also 
subdueth our sins, and bringeth them in subjection. ' He will subdue,' 
saith he, * our iniquities.' Whence learn that, 

Doct 7. Where God forgiveth sin, there he also suhdueth mn ; as unto Paul, 
look how soon God was merciful unto him in eff'ectual calling, so soon did 
he begin to subdue sin in him. So we see of Mary Magdalene, how peni- 
tent she was after forgivenness of sins ; and so Peter, weeping bitterly 
after the same ; so of Manasseh, that great sinner, who, when his sins 
were once pardoned, did leave off his sins ; — they were subdued also. 

Reason 1. The reasons are, first. Because the virtue of Christ's death 
can never be separated from the merit of the same. Now the merit of his 
death being the purchase of our free pardon by what he hath done for us 
imputed for forgiveness of sins, the virtue of his death, which is to 
kill and wound sin by degrees, to subdue and bring it under, to mortify 
the aflections, can never be separated from the same. 

Reason 2. Secondly, Because without this subduing of sin upon forgive- 
ness, neither should we have comfort from him, nor he glory from us; for, 
so long as we groan under the burden and dominion of sin, we cannot 
rejoice in God heartily, we cannot serve him. Now, because God would 



have his servants to rejoice and serve him here fullj', therefore upon accepta- 
tion of our persons, he will also loose our bands, and make us able to 
serve him. 

Use 1. The use is, (1.) reproof and terror unto such who say they hope 
their sins are forgiven, when indeed they are not subdued ; for it is certain 
that with forgiveness of sins God also healeth the nature in such, that the 
like be committed no more, at least there is a resolution, and a total, con- 
stant endeavour and striving, to leave all sin. 

Use 2. Secondly, This serveth unto us for strong consolation, to see that 
this is not a death of sin here meant, but that it shall not assail so often, 
come so strong, act with such delight, and be so violent. No; the child 
of God in this life shall never have sin so subdued, as to find a death of it, 
only it shall be subdued. Therefore, this is a stronghold unto us, that if 
God have abated the force of sins in us, this is a sure sign of our justifica- 

Use 3. Thirdly, It is matter of instruction for us all, that whensoever we 
find our sins too strong for us, let us then fly out of ourselves unto him, 
who is stronger than all, and hath sworn to subdue them. 

Obj. Some object, and say. Oh ! I would come if I could but subdue 
this sin. 

Ans. No, I say, because thou canst not overcome this or that sin, yet 
come. God, he bids thee come because thou art not able to subdue it, that 
he may come against it with his mighty power and subdue it; otherwise, 
if it were in ouwpower to subdue our sins, we should be like unto so many 
gods. Now, I mean, we must go unto God in all his means, to prayer, to 
the word also, which is mighty to cast down holds, all strong mountains of 
sin. Again, we must go unto the sacraments, which, we must think, are 
as able to feed us to life, by eating and drinking of a little bread and wine, 
as the eating of a little unholy food was at first to bring upon us destruc- 
tion. This is a stronghold to rest upon. Again, for subduing of our sins, 
let us bind them up in fetters and chains, let us bind one another by 
reproofs and holy admonitions. I deny not, for all this, God's children 
have, and may have, many vexing sins, but with humiliation let them be 
humbled for them. This is a death of sin, even this weakening and sub- 
duing of it. 

Now followeth the second part of this santification, after this life, in these 
w^ords, 'He will cast all our sins in the depth of the sea,' meaning that he 
will drown all our enemies, dealing with our spiritual enemies, as some- 
times '•= he did with the temporal enemies of his church. Pharaoh and all 
his army he drowned in the bottom of the sea ; so he says, at length he 
will drown and destroy all our spiritual enemies. After subduing of sins 
shall come drowning of them. Whence the doctrine is, that, 

Doct. 8. Those ivho have their sins subdued whilst theij live, shall have them 
alldroimed when they are dead. We see, 1 Cor. xv. 26, it is said, ' The last 
enemy we have is death;' but this is only in regard of nature — to them it 
is a passage to heaven, for the others, unto hell. Kev. xiv. 13, the dead 
in the Lord are pronounced blessed, for then all their enemies are quite 
subdued. Here we labour under the burden of many crosses and afilictions, 
but then is deliverance; here we are troubled with many sins, but then 
cometh freedom from sin, then we labour no more, then all shall have an 
end. Wait but a little until then, and all shall appear most exceeding 
glorious; for then, for our comfort, all our sorrows and troubles, wherewith 
* That is, >= ' sometime.' — G. 


we are now fined* in the furnace of affliction, shall be quite forgot, as though 
they had never been : former things shall be remembered no more. 

Use 1. The use of all this is for us, since all our sins and sorrows shall 
then be subdued and forgot, to fight our battles cheerfully here, and look 
up unto heaven for help. 

Use 2. Secondly, Again, that we should be exceedingly comforted in this, 
that our battle is so short, our victory so sure, and our reward so infinite 
and eternal; since after a little while all our sins and crosses shall be 
drowned, they shall be put as far from us as the east is from the west, as 
heaven is from hell : then, then our long tedious enemies shall all fly away. 

Use 3. Thirdly, It is infinite consolation for us against the fear of death, 
that that death which parteth body and soul, shall also part us from all our 
sins, sorrows, and crosses for evermore. All those means we now do use, 
serve but to weaken sin, but death, this kills and vanquisheth it for ever- 
more. So that the speech of Moses to the Israelites may as truly be said 
of our enemies, ' The Egyptians whom you have seen to-day, you shall 
never any more see,' Exodus xiv. 13. Even so, I say, though thou be 
vexed and troubled with many sins, crosses, and afflictions, yet stand still 
but a while, yet a little while, nay, a very little while, and all these crosses 
and sins which vex you, you shall never see any more : he will drown them 
all [in] the bottom of the sea. 

I now come unto the reasons of these doctrines, which are in number 
two, wherein I must use brevity : 

1, His mercy; 2, his truth. 

I will only touch them, and so make an end. The first is, because he 
delighteth in mercy. If we will needs speedily and earnestly perform that 
wherein we do delight, much more will God. The point is, that, 

Boct. 9. That wherein God delighteth, it is imjjossihle hut it must needs 
come to pass. Now he, delighting in mercy, therefore it is of necessity 
that he must needs pour upon us abundance of all his mercies ; for he is 
the perfection of goodness, the perfection of love. Nothing can stay him 
from performing that wherein he delighteth, therefore all these excellent 
mercies must needs be bestowed upon his children. 

The next reason, as I shewed in the opening, is taken from the truth of 
God, aided with many reasons : of antiquity, often repetition, many wit- 
nesses, and the oath of God confirming the same. So that the giving of 
these mercies, and certain assurance thereof, dependeth upon God's truth. 
"VVtiGiiCG iGtirn 

Doct. 10. God is hound, in rerjard of his truth, to fulfil all his former riier- 
cies unto his children ; and therefore as certainly as God is true, as certainly 
•all his benefits and mercies shall be given unto them. 

Use 1. The use hereof is unto us, notwithstanding all these promises, to 
see our weakness, how in tentationf we are ready to rob God of his truth, 
neglecting the promises, because we find not present help. Behold how 
we deal with God ! If a man promise us a thing again and again, we 
believe him; but if he swear and confirm the same with an oath, then we 
doubt no more ; and yet when God he promiseth again and again unto us 
many precious promises, yea, and giveth us the earnest in hand, and 
sweareth unto us, yet, lo our wretchedness, we trust not with assured con- 
fidence in him ; a mortal man would take it ill to be thus used at our hands. 
So every small tentationf maketh us to rob God of his truth, and to think 
that he will not be as good as his word. 

* That is, ' refined ' = purified.— G. t That is, ' temptation.'— G. 


Use 2. Secondly, It must be matter of instruction for us all, that when 
we come unto God we must promise ourselves to have good speed, since 
God is most true of his promises, and we must labour by all means to re- 
member and apply them, and so to turn them into prayers ; thus reasoning 
the matter, What ! I am in this and this necessity, God he hath promised 
to help ; since he is true, it must needs be that he will have a care to fulfil 
his truth ; for howsoever I should not be heard, yet God he should be the 
greatest loser, to lose his truth. beloved, it is easy for us to speak, 
but in the evil day to put on our armour, to fly unto prayer, to hang upon 
God, to fight against tentations, to give unto God the praise of his 
attributes, that as he is true, loving, just, merciful, all-sufficiency, infinite, 
omnipotent, so to expect infinite love, infinite truth, infinite mercy from 
him, — this is no small matter, yea, it is true Christian fortitude, in tenta- 
tion and affliction thus to reason the matter, to rely upon God, and as it 
were to bind his help near unto us with the chains of his loving promises. 
If a promise bind us, much more it bindeth God ; for all our truth is but 
a small spark of that ocean of truth in him. And therefore to conclude all 
with this promise, worthy to be engraven in everlasting remembrance upon 
the palms of our hands, God he hath promised that all the afflictions of his 
children they shall work for the best, Rom. viii, 28. This is as true as 
God's truth, I shall one day see and confess so much if I wait in patience ; 
why, therefore, I will wait. God is infinite in wisdom and power, to bring 
light out of darkness; so also he is true, and he will do it. Therefore 
because I believe * I will not make haste;' I will walk in the perfect way 
until he shew deliverance. This must be our resolution, and then it shall 
be unto us according to our faith; which God, for his Christ's sake, grant 
unto us all ! 


(a) P. 153. — ' The Original, in the time present, reads " taking away;" ' 
And agaia — 

(6) P. 157. — 'As it is in the Original, in the present number, "passing by 
iniquity." ' The Hebrew is ^I^3~7^ 12^; = passing by transgression. So Dr 

Henderson, and all the early and recent Commentators. G. 




The Sermon from Malaclii iv. 2, 3 is appended to the Exposition of Philippians 
ii. 12-30 . (See Vol. V. p. 2 ) The pagination is continuous from. Philippians 
and there is the simple heading, 




But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with 
healing in his icings ; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the 
stall. Arul ye shall tread down the wicked ; for they shall he as the dust 
in that day. — MAiiACHi IV. 2, 3. 

In the former chapter we may read of a sort of wicked men, yet those not 
of the worst, that had in their corrupt observation noted that God did seem 
to approve of those that were notorious idolaters ; therefore they contested 
with him, ' What profit is there,' say they, ' that we have kept his ordi- 
nances?' ver. 14 and 15. This God could not endure, and therefore, 
verse 8th and 13th, he reproves their boldness, telling them that they had 
robbed him, and had spoken stout and rebellious words against him, and 
from the laying open of their rebelHous carriage, he proceeds to describe 
the carriage of some that were good, who spake often to one another ; whence 
we may observe by the way, that in the ivorst times some take God's part. 
Some are notoriously wicked, carrying sin with a high hand, and some are 
more civil, yet irreligious, murmuring and complaining as if Christ were 
not king, and as if true religion were not to be cared for ; and these are 
as hateful to God as the other. For this complaining proceeds either of 
anger, because things are not suitable to their humours, or from a mur- 
muring at God's government, as if they were wiser to dispose of things 
than God ; and there are likewise some that recover themselves from such 
misapprehensions of God's dealings, and justify God : • Just art thou, 
Lord, and righteous ; and it is thy mercy we are not consumed,' Neh, ix. 33 ; 
and such look at those favours they have, though burdened with other 
calamities, and to these are these words spoken, * But to you that fear my 
name,' &c. 

In the former verse there is a terrible denunciation against the wicked, and 
therefore there is no ground that any should be offended at their prosperity. 
There is a day of vengeance, when they shall be burnt up, and there shall 
be left them neither root nor branch. This vengeance began to the Jews 
at the first coming of Christ, and was accomplished at the destruction of 
Jerusalem. They looked indeed for the Messiah, and the day of the Lord, 
but woe be to them, ' for it shall be a day of darkness,' Amos v. 8. The 
persons against whom this denunciation was threatened are said to be the 
proud men, such as sin against their own consciences, casting off God's 


rule and laws. WTien lie bids tliem not to swear, they will; when he com- 
mands them to attend the means of salvation, they will not, they will live 
by their own law. So as pride is an ingredient in every sin, as humility is 
in every virtue ; for humihty gives God place above ourselves, and above 
our lusts. But to the present purpose ; those words are a gracious promise 
made to those that fear. In the icorst times God hath a mtmber that do fear 
him ; for else it would follow, there should be an act without an object, 
that we should believe a church where none is, and that there should 
be war without enemies, that there should be God without glory. For 
what glory hath God from such as rebel and shake off all rule ? No ; it 
is the saints that praise God : Ps. cxlv. 10, * All thy works praise thee, 
and thy saints bless thee.' This should comfort us in that our posterity 
shall ever have some to stand for God in the worst times ; nay, in 
the worst places, where Satan's throne is. In the next place we may 
observe, that comfort belongs to such as are God's; for here it is pronounced 
to those * that fear.' The ground of which is in this, that Christ is given 
to them, and ministers should give ' such their portion,' and not grieve 
those that God grieves not ; for such as do not thus are carnal in their 
disposition, and do steal the word from the people. But to proceed: good 
men are described here by this, that ' they fear the name of God ; ' that is, 
they fear lest by their infirmities there should be a divorce between God's 
outward favours and them, and fear lest they should offend so good a God, 
and so they fear his name ; that is, fear him as he hath revealed himself 
ia his word ; for the devil will fear when God comes in his person. There- 
fore it is no thank for men to fear his presence ; nay, those that fear God 
most when God declares his presence in his judgments, as when the wicked 
are smitten with horror and trembling, as Belshazzar was at the hand- 
writing, they have the least true fear. And therefore to come to church 
at a set time with a composed carriage, and doing outward duties, is not 
enough to make a man such a one as fears God. Some solace themselves 
while they are in prosperity, Oh ! they will repent when judgments come. 
The devil will do as much, he will tremble. Can there be any comfort in 
this fear ? Can we think that a man who lives in all manner of notorious 
crimes till judgment overtake him, will heartily repent him of his faults, 
that he hath committed, out of love to God ? No. It is the fear of wrath 
and judgment that terrifies him. If this be repentance, the damned in 
hell have it. How then shall this fear be discerned where it is ? I 
answer. If we fear the name of God there will be a jealousy over ourselves, 
and a special jealousy of our inward corruptions, so as we fearing the traitor 
within us, will not give ear to everything, nor give our eyes liberty to look 
on temptations, but eat with fear, and converse with fear ; for those that 
fear temptations are not secure, and fear not God.* Secondly, where this fear 
of [God] is, it frees us from base fears. We will fear no man when we are in 
a good cause. ' The man that feareth God shall not be afraid of evil tidings,' 
for his heart is fixed upon God, Ps. cxii. 7, and fears no creature further 
than as having a beam of God's glory. He fears not death itself, though 
the king of fears. God he fears as his king, father, husband, and master, 
and considers of him accordingly to stir up in him an awful reverence of so 
great a majesty. There is indeed a covenant between God and him, but 
so as it is with those that fear him. 

' Shall the Sun of righteousness arise.' From the most glorious creature, 
' the sun,' he expresseth the most glorious Creator, * Christ Jesus,' taking 

* Tlmt is, ' those that fear temptations and fear not God, are not secure. — G. 



occasion to help our understandings in grace by natural things, and teach- 
ing us thereby to make a double use of the creatures, corporal and spiritual; 
out of the excellency of the creatures, raising up our minds to consider the 
excellency of the Creator, so as if these things have beauty and strength, 
and are comfortable ; how much more he that endueth these things with 
these qualities. Thus, as the rivers lead to the sea, so these creatures 
should lead us to the glorious majesty of God. But the main observation 
is, that Christ is the Sun of righteousness, for as by nature there was no 
guile found in his lips, so is he habitually and actually righteous. He is 
wisdom, justification, sanctification, and redemption, 1 Cor. i. 30. He is 
compared to the sun, first, because as all light was gathered into the body of 
the sun, and from it derived* to us, so it pleased God that in him should 
the fulness of all excellency dwell, Col. i. 19 ; and therefore those that look 
for perfection out of Christ, do look for light without the sun. Secondly, 
as there is but one sun, so there is but one Sun of righteousness; and there- 
fore what needeth two heads, or two husbands. One must needs be an 
adulterer. Christ doth all by his Spirit, which is his vicar. Other vicar 
needs not, though there were a thousand worlds more. Thirdly, as thesuyi 
is above in the firmament, so Christ is exalted up on high, to convey his graces 
and virtues to all his creatures here below; even as the sun conveys life, 
and quickens the earth, yea, all things thereon, though itself be but one. 
Fourthly, as the sun works largely in all things here below, so doth Christ. 
Fifthly, as the sun is the fountain of light, and the eye of the world, so Christ 
is the fountain of all spiritual light. ' I am the light of the world,' saith 
he of himself, John viii. 12. He was that light that enlightens the world, 
saith St John of him, John i. 9, and therefore Zacharias termeth him * the 
day-spring from on high,' Luke i. 78. Sixthly, as the sun directeth us whither 
to go, and which way, so doth Christ teach us to go to heaven, and by what 
means ; what duties to perform, what things to avoid, and what things to 
bear. Seventhly, as the sun is pleasant, Eccles. xi. 7, and darkness is ter- 
rible, so Christ is comfortable; for he makes all at peace where he comes, 
and sends his Spirit the Comforter. Now he is in heaven. Therefore as 
ignorance and error is expressed by darkness, so, contrarily, joy and honour 
and knowledge, which bringeth it, is expressed by light, Esther viii. 16 ; 
and Christ is our director, our supporter, and without him what are we ? 
and what do we but glory in our shame ? Eighthly, By the beams of the 
sun is conveyed influence to make things grow, and tO' distinguish between 
times and seasons. Thus Christ, by his power, makes all things cheerful, 
and therefore is called the ' quickening Spirit,' 1 Cor. xv. 45 ; for he quickens 
the dead and dark soul, which, till Christ shine on us, it is a dungeon of 
ignorance and unbelief; and as his Spirit blows on our spirits, so also it 
works a spring in growth of grace, or a summer in strength of zeal. 
Ninthly, the sun ivorks these effects not by coming down to us, but by influence, 
and shall we, then, be so sottish as to imagine that Christ of necessity must 
come bodily in the sacrament to us, or that there is else no work of the 
Spirit by that ordinance. Can the sun be thus powerful in operation by 
nature, and shall not this Sun of righteousness be more powerful by the 
influence of his Spirit to comfort and quicken us, though he cometh not 
bodily down into a piece of bread? Tenthly, As the sun doth work freely, 
drawing up vapours to dissolve them into rain upon the earth, to cherish 
it when it is dry, so doth Christ. He freely came from heaven to us, and 
freely draws up our hearts to heaven, which cannot ascend thither but by 
* That is, ' communicated.' — G. 


Lis exhaling power. Christ is our loadstone, that draws these iron hard 
hearts of ours upward, causing us to contemn this hase world, counting it 
' dross and dung,' as the church is shadowed out in the Eevelation treading 
the moon under our* feet. Eleventhly, as the sun shines xipon all, yet doth 
not heat all, so Christ is offered to all. He shines on all where the gospel 
Cometh, but all are not enlightened ; and all that ai-e enlightened do not 
burn in love to him ; nay, some are more hardened by it, as it is the nature 
of the sun to harden some bodies. Twelfthly, and lastly, as the sun quickens 
and puts life into dead creatures, so shall Christ, by his power, quicken our 
dead bodies, and raise them up again when he shall come to judgment. 
And notwithstanding all these particulars, yet he is not everyway like it, 
for the sun shines upon all alike ; but Christ doth not thus, for many are 
in eternal darkness, notwithstanding this light. He is mercy, yet many 
are in misery. 

How, then, shall we know whether Christ be a sun to us or not ? 

I answer, Tfirejind that we feel the heat and comfort of a Christian, "li is 
a sign Christ hath effectually shined upon us. We know that a stone, being 
naturally cold, if it be hot, that either the sun hath shined on it, or it hath 
been near some fire. The papists ask us how we know faith to be faith. 
We may ask them how they know heat to be heat, or light to be light. 
Even so, by experience, do we find Christ his presence by enlightened 
hearts and holy affections. They, forsooth, will have the pope judge of 
these main things, and of the Scripture itself, and thus teach men to look 
for the sun by candle light. 

Secondly, He shall see his marvellous light, and admire it, even as a man 
newly out of a dark prison, or a blind man restored to sight, how cheerful 
and joyous is he ; or a cripple, when he is healed, oh how he skips and 
leaps ; so a Christian he shews forth the joy of his own heart by telling 
how good God hath been to his soul. Carnal men wonder at fair 
buildings, precious jewels, and the like, but David crieth out, ' Lord, lift 
up the light of thy countenance upon me, and then I shall rejoice,' Ps. 
iv. 6. 

Thirdly, If Christ have shined upon any effectually, they uill walk comely 
as children of the light ; and therefore if they live in a course of sin against 
conscience, the light will tell them their conscience belies them, if they 
think the light hath shined on them. And indeed it is a wonder how a 
man should be thus sottish to think he is a child of the light, and yet live 
in such sins as indeed a man should be ashamed to name ; yea, such as the 
heathen did condemn. This shall be their condemnation, even because 
they sin against the light ; ' light is come into the world, and yet they love 
darkness more than light, because their deeds are evil,' John iii. 19. 

But how shall we carry ourselves, that Christ may shine on us ? 

For answer thereunto ; we should ever be under sanctified means. All 
the light is gathered into the Scriptures. Attend we, in humihty and obe- 
dience to God's commandment, on them, and let Christ alone for the pro- 
fiting of us. It is he that gives us to will and to do according to his good 
pleasure. Use we the company of those that are good, for by conference 
God works strangely many times, as in the hearts of the two disciples that 
went to Emmaus, Luke xxiv. 13. Contrarily take we heed of filthy com- 
pany. Christ will not shine on base houses, and company where all serves 
to fire temptations and strengthen our lusts. 

Quest. But here may it be demanded what comfort was this to the Jews, 
* Qu. 'her'?— G. 



to whom this was spoken, whenas it was now near a hundred years after, 
before Christ came ? 

Ans. To which I answer, it was a comfort to them to be assured that 
their seed and posterity should see this ' Sun of righteousness.' Abraham 
rejoiced because the promise was made to him ; the Jews rejoiced because 
of the conversion of the Gentiles which was to come ; and where grace is, 
there will be joy for any good that ariscth to others that are led by the 
same Spirit, and one spiritual member is engaged in the good of another. 

Secondly, Christ ivas a son^ be/ore he icas in the Jiesh. He was ' a Lamb 
slain from the beginning of the world,' Kev. xiii. 8, in virtue and force, 
and also to the eye of faith, so as thereby those Jews saw this Sun of 
righteousness as present, and thus Abraham saw Christ's day and rejoiced ; 
and thus is the second glorious coming of Christ present to every be- 
liever, and wraps up the soul in joy, as if it were in heaven ; for faith 
regards no distance of time nor place, and therefore it sees Christ really 
present in the sacrament without the help of popish presence. 

Now for use of this doctrine. 

Use 1. Is Christ a Sun of righteousness ? Then should we pity their estate 
that are in darkness, and never had Christ to shine on them by his Spirit nor 
ordinances, as in many places of this kingdom. It is a cruel bloody practice 
of those lay pastors, that for want of the ministry of the word do betray 
the souls of many poor people into the jaws of the devil. f 

Use 2. Secondly, If Christ be the Sun of righteousness, we should, when 
we are cold and benumbed, repair to him, and conceive of him as one havinr/ 
excellencies suitable to our ivants. Are we dark ? He is light. Are we dull ? 
He can heal us. Are we dying ? He is life. And are we in discomfort ? 
He is the fulness of love. He is therefore the Son,* that we should seek 
to him, and make him ours all in all ; our Prophet, to direct us by his 
light ; our Priest, to make atonement for us ; our King, to help us over- 
come all our corruptions, and to make us more than conquerors. 

' With healing in his wings.' 

By wings are understood beams of the sun, for beams are spread from 
the lightsome body, as wings from the body ; and thus Christ, though but 
one, can spread all his graces to all parts of the world ; and by the beams 
are conveyed all that is in the sun, as light and power ; and the like effects 
which grace works in us. Again, wings have a power to keep warm, and 
comfort the young ones ; and therefore God is said to gather his children 
as a hen doth gather her chickens. Mat. xxiii. 37. In the beams there is 
a healing nature also. So as the meaning is evident, that this Sun of right- 
eousness shall be a healing sun. 

For naturally we are all sick and wounded. Some see and feel their 
diseases and pain, others do not ; but those that do not are the most dan- 
gerously afflicted. We are all sick of a general spreading leprosy ; and 
besides, we have every one of us our particular diseases. Some swell with 
pride, as men do with the dropsy ; others that are covetous have ever a 
supposed hunger, crying ever ' Give, give ;' some burn in wrath and anger, 
as men do in the hot ague ; and as we are sick, so are wo also wounded by 
terror of conscience, by Satan's temptations, and therefore have need of 
healing ; and this is wrought by Christ, but after a wonderful manner, even 
from heaven he comes to invite us to come to him. ' Come to me, all ye that 
are weary,' Mat. xi. 28. Healing is ordinarily by natural medicines of drugs 
and the like ; but Christ heals with a plaster of his own blood, even by 
Qu. ' Sun '? — Ed. f Cf. our Memoir of Sibbes, Vol. I. c. viii. p. Isxi. — G. 



* his wounds and stripes are we healed,' Isa. liii. 5. He heals by his 
Spirit, enlightening our understandings, which by nature is dark, and soon 
led away to mistake light for darkness, and darkness for light. This he 
heals by his word breeding sound affections and judgments, whereby we 
esteem of things as they are, and accordingly do affect them. He heals 
our wounds of conscience that Satan makes by his darts and sharp tempta- 
tions, whereby he would bear us in hand that we are reprobates, and that 
God is angry with us. Against these he strengthens our faith and trust in 
God, yea, though he kill us. These temptations, and many other, may 
gather together to cloud this Sun, but it will at length scatter them all. 
So as there is ever hope of comfort so long as we use good means. Indeed, 
amongst bodily diseases some there are that are called opprohria medico- 
rum ;=;= but in soul there is no disease but if it be felt it may be cured. 
The soul that hungers after comfort shall find it ; for Christ is an universal 
healer, healing both bodies and souls of men, and healing them from all 
evil, both blindness and deafness of the heart ; nay, the very dead heart 
he can restore to life. And this serves to reprove the carelessness of men. 
It is wonderful, if the head doth but ache, no cost nor labour is spared to 
redress it. The physician is sent for presently ; but in the soul's sick- 
ness they are so far from sending for them as they hate them. Am not I 
your enemy because I tell you the truth ? saith the apostle. Gal. iv. 16 ; 
and thus now-a-days none are greater enemies in the esteem of ordinary 
men than the minister that deals faithfully with them. 

Again, this should teach us to take notice of our diseases in time, and 
go to the healing God, as he terms himself, Exod. xv. 26, and lay open our 
estates to him, and confess, as David did, Ps. xH. 4, ' Heal me, Lord, for 
I have sinned against thee.' And thus lay open our sores, as beggars use 
to do to move commiseration ; for as there are beams of majesty in this 
Sun, so are there beams of mercy and bowels of compassion in him. And 
to this end we should claim his nature and truth in performance of his pro- 
mises, and we should attend on the means ; for there is a tree in the 
church of God, even ' the tree of life,' whose leaves are appointed ' to heal 
the nations,' Rev. xxii. 2, and this is the word of God. We should also 
take heed of despair. Though as yet Satan lulls us asleep, telling us that 
the sin we are tempted to is but a little one, and that God will dispense 
with it ; that we may yet a while swear and commit adultery, and when we 
die we may repent. Believe him not, for when death approacheth he will 
alter his rhetoric. Oh ! thou hast lived in sins against conscience a long 
while. Though thou hast been told of it often, thy sins are scandalous ; 
thou hast resisted God, he will now resist thee ; never hope for mercy, 
thou art mine. What comfort is there then for a poor miserable wretch, 
but to be well grounded in the knowledge of his Physician, and to be 
assured of his healing power that hath cured innumerable souls. We 
should furthermore take heed of ignorance ; for many, when temptations 
come, have not the least knowledge of any healing power in Christ, and 
60 they go on till death, and die like blocks. We should meditate of his 
commandments and promises ; of his goodness and nature ; of his encou- 
ragements given to us to come to him, ' Come to me, all ye that are weary,' 
Mat. xi. 38. We praise physicians that have peculiar sovereign medi- 
cines, that can work extraordinary cures. Now Christ he hath a medicine 
of his own able to cure any disease, though never so desperate, any person 
though never so sick ; Mary Magdalene as well as Paul ; Zaccheus as well 
* That is, ' the shame of physicians' = incurable. — G 


as Manasseh ; all come whole from him ; and therefore when Satan 
would tempt us to despair, we should call to mind that we have a mer- 
ciful God that ' forgives all our sins, and heals all our infirmities,' Ps. 
ciii. 3. 

Qiiest. But it will be asked, Why then are we not healed ? What means 
this that we are subject to these infirmities of ours ? 

Ans. I answer, Some of Christ's works are all at one time perfected, 
but some by degrees, by little and little. Christ heals the soul of guiltiness 
presently, but there remains the corruption and the dregs of this disease 
for heavenly purposes. And thus he heals by not healing, and leaves infir- 
mities to cure enormities. He suffers us to be abased and humbled by our 
infirmities, lest we should be exalted above measure, as he dealt vvith Paul, 
2 Cor. xii. 7, even as the body of a man is cured of an appoplex* by an 
ague, est utile quihmdam ut cadant ; Peter did more profitably displease 
himself when he fell, than please himself when he presumed ; and there- 
fore we should retort Satan's accusations when he tempteth us to despair 
because of our sins, and reason thus, because we have infirmities, there- 
fore we will pray the more earnestly, ' forgive us our trespasses ;' because 
we are sick, we will go to Christ that took our nature not to cure the whole 
but the weak ; for we may be sure Christ will not perfectly cure our weak- 
nesses, because he will have us live by faith, every day going to the throne 
of grace, and depending on his promise for the forgiveness of our sins, 
assuring ourselves that the spirit, like David's house, shall grow stronger 
and stronger, and the house of Saul weaker and weaker, 2 Sam. iii. 1 ; 
and this flesh beginning once to fall, shall surely fall. 

' And ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.' 

The most translations have it, ' you shall leap forth;' and the last trans- 
lation is, 'you shall grow up.'f All is to one end, signifying a cheerful 
moving. The terminus a quo is sickness or bonds. Those that are sick 
are God's prisoners ; but here it is taken for weakness of the spirit, and 
the promise is, that they should go forth in all good duties, and that they 
should walk with strength, so that Christ's benefits go together. Where 
there is forgiveness, there is also strength of grace promised; and where 
there is strength, there is promised increase thereof, even to fulness ; for 
where Christ begins, he leaves not till his work be complete, in wisdom, 
righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; and therefore he comes 
both by water and blood also, for God is unchangeable ; and that love that 
moves him to elect, moves him to justify, and sanctify, and glorify us; and 
all the promises do join these together, justification and sanctification: 'I 
will put my fear into their hearts, and they shall not depart away from 
me,' Jer. xxxii. 40. Where forgiveness of sin is, there is also power against 
sin, and strong resolutions to labour against it ; and where there is justifi- 
cation, it will shew itself in works of sanctification. This will convict many 
to be no Christians that boast of the forgiveness of sins. 

But where is this healing power of Christ seen ? In their conversa- 
tions. He that is cured can rise and walk, — as the cripple did, — in good 
duties of a holy life ; for the spirit of adoption is the spirit of sanctifica- 
tion, and we are sick in the bed of sin if we come not out. In the next 
place we may observe, that in every Christian there is a going out; for so it 
is promised here, and this hath many degrees. There is a going out of 
misery in this life, for at this present the church was in great misery, and 
* That is, ' apoplexy'. — G. 
t That is, the Authorised Version of 1611. — G. 


*a going out' was promised to them; for wlaen a comfortable workllj' 
estate is good for tlie church, it shall have it. Secondly, there is a going 
out of the bonds of sin, by little and little in this world ; and because here 
we are in a warring estate, and our freedom here is but from the dominion 
of sin ; there is another 'going out' at the last day, when we all shall go 
perfected out of the graves, body and soul being freed from sin ; and then 
shall our joy be full. But in this world there is a going out to good 
duties, for true believers have hearts enlarged to 'go forth' in good duties. 
Their hearts are set at liberty, being freed from damnation, and free to 
walk in good courses; for where grace enables us to go, it enables us 
freely to go, so as God's people are a free pieople. In the building of the 
tabernacle and the temple, they did offer ' freely,' and David praised God 
for it, 1 Chron. xxix. 14, and Ezra likewise, Ezra ii. 4; and the reason is, 
because these have Christ's Spirit, which is a Spirit of liberty, 2 Cor. iii. 
17; and it is a promise, Ps. ex. 3, that Christ's people shall be willing. 
God's people are all volunteers, doing holy duties freely ; for they are 
freed from exaction and coaction. The Spirit that witnesseth the one 
worketh also the other, and setteth them at liberty. And as this is true, 
so it is also true that it is dearly bought. It cost Christ's blood, who 
redeemed us ' to serve him without fear,' Luke i. 74 ; and that we might 
be a holy people, zealous of all good works, Titus ii. 14; and therefore 
our lukewarm, cool carriage shews that we are not yet at liberty. And 
that is the reason we cannot spend an hour in good duties, but it is very 
irksome and tedious to us. It was otherwise with Zaccheus after his con- 
version ; how free in charitable works ! And with the jailor, how cheerful 
was he in feasting the apostle, whom a little before he had tormented ! 
In the primitive church, how willingly did they endure persecutions, living 
together with one heart, one mind, and had all things common. Acts ii. 44. 
Thus is it in some measure in all Christians, when they are once heated 
by this Sun of righteousness. In the next place, God's people do not 
only go forth, but grow up, and go on in a continued motion; for it is 
promised that the soul shall grow strong in grace as well as the body in 
natural strength. And as nature doth enable the body, so doth grace 
enable the soul, giving ever a desire of liberty to grow up, and to grow in 
strength, thereby to overcome all weaknesses of the soul whatever, by 
those holy means appointed to that end. And this is necessary in regard 
of God, that he might have the more glory; for when we pray or do any 
good duty with strength, as when we can be resolute in the defence of a 
good cause, God is honoured therehy, and his truth honoured, and his 
wisdom justified. And it is likewise necessary in regard rf others, that 
they may be won, and strengthened by our examples, they seeing that 
such things are possible to be done; and thus are they also won. When 
in our actions to one another we do them with all our might and cheerful- 
ness, how grateful and lovely is it to them ! And likewise in regard of 
ourselves ; for the stronger we grow, the less burdensome will our profes- 
sion be to us. For why are we so untoward and dead, that goodness 
comes from us as fire out of the flint, by force, but because we want this 
habit, that should grow upon us by practice ? Therefore it is we are not 
grown yet; and therefore cannot pray privately, nor hear conscionably,* 
but with almost an insensible heart. And likewise this is necessary in 
regard of opp)ositions, which is such as must be gotten out of the fire, 
whatever good we" labour for. We daily feel the strength of our own cor- 
* That is, ' conscientiously.' — G. 


ruptioDS of outward oppositions by indispositions of others and scandal of 
the times, and therefore we had need grow up. 

Now, for means hereunto, we should first pwfje and cleanse the soul of 
iveakeninrj matter. Practise the duty of repentance daily; and though it be 
bitter, it is better to burn, to cut and lance here, than to die hereafter. It 
is better to renew our repentance daily, than to go on in security to des- 
peration. And as it is in the body that is sick, the more it is nourished 
the greater is the strength that the humours do gather ; or as it is in leak- 
ing ships, the longer we suffer the leak to open, the more danger the ship 
is in. The best of us daily gather ill humours, partly by reason of our 
own corruptions within us, partly by reason of the corruption in others 
with whom we converse; and these make us like sick men, either with- 
out stomachs, or with stomachs that can digest none but unwholesome 
meats ; and these once purged out, makes us hunger after goodness, and 
stronger than before, and more intense in our love to Christ, as Peter was 
after his bitter tears. 

In the next place, we should come to good food. When we have purged 
out the ill humours of our corruption, digest some comfortable truths, and 
that presently after we are humbled, lest Satan get advantages on us; 
therefore we should resort to the preaching of the word whiles we may. 
That study is accursed that takes up a man when he should be at God's 
ordinances ; and the good that is gotten at home, when we may go to 
church on the Sabbath, is as the water of cursing, because it is gotten in 
contempt of God's ordinances. 

And what though, as many poor Christians object, we forget immediately 
many times what we hear, yet for the present it will strengthen our souls 
to walk moi'e strongly after it ; as our meat doth when it is passed from 
us, yet the virtue thereof remaineth behind in us. 

Thirdy, We should use exercise of holy duties. We see men that are 
given to daily labour, how strong they are to bear burdens, and what 
stomachs they have to their meat ; and thus it is in those that are oft in 
prayer and meditation, how do they long after the word ! and how sweet 
is it to them ! and how do they treasure it up ! Contrarily those that 
use no exercise, let them boast as they please, they are full, and care not 
for the word; and are graceless, however they may excel for civil* parts. 
If they come to church, or like of any of that breed, f it must be to their 
taste, or they will have none of it; gross meat their finer stomachs cannot 
digest. The preacher must be as a player upon a well-tuned instrument ; 
and this sort of men are never good practitioners, :J but commonly given to 

But let us take heed we do not lightly esteem of God's ordinance, but 
in reverence use all means for the strengthening of our faith by the word, 
sacraments, and prayer. We have but a short time to work. Our wages 
are in heaven ; and it should be a shame to us that we do no more work 
for so great a reward as we shall have. We should set no stay nor pitch 
in rehgion, but evermore pray and endeavour that God's kingdom may 
come, and that his will may be done on earth as it is in heaven. Be not 
dejected by the length of the way, nor the fierce serpents of this world. 
Take heed of returning into Egypt in our thoughts, but go on from grace 
to grace, and from one degree to another, till God shall call us to rest. 

Quest. But doth a Christian perpetually grow ? 

* That is, ' moral and intellectual.'— G. J That is, ' putters into practice.''— G 
t Qu. ' bread ' ? and for ' like ' = take ?— G. 


Ans. In answer, Not at all times in all parts. Trees we know, in winter 
time, grow in the root. Christians grow not always in all graces, but only 
in some one radical grace, as in faith, or humility, or the like. If there 
be any stop, it is to further his speediness afterwards, as we see in those 
that stumble in their course, and as water stopped, breaks out more out- 
rageously. Thus was it in ihe slips of David and Peter. And God's 
children, after such times, are as a broken bone : after it is set, it grows 
stronger in that part than in any other. 

Obj. But a man may say, I perceive not this growth. 

Ans. To which I answer, We perceive not the corn grow, nor the 
shadow to move, yet in continuance of time we perceive the corn hath 
grown, and the shadow hath moved. So, though we perceive it not, yet 
every act of repentance and faith doth strengthen us. There may be many 
turhida intervalla, cloudy times in every Christian's life. David, a man 
after God's own heart, had many infirmities; and this may cloud a man's 
eyes that he may think he is going quite backward. But yet these should 
not hinder our faith in God's love ; for God calls not every slip in a man's 
life to reckoning. Any traveller may set his foot awry and may go out of 
his way, yet at length he gets home ; and God judges not of us by single 
acts, but by the tenor of our lives. 

How then shall we know whether we are grown or not ? 

1. I answer. Our growth may be discerned by these signs : first, if we 
can taste and relish the food of our souls, the word of God; for it is with the 
soul herein as with the body. If our meat be not loathsome to us, our 
stomach is good, and it is a sign of health ; so if we can hear the word of 
God with delight, and if it be not tedious to us, it is a sign of our Chris- 
tian growth. 

2. Another sign is, if we find ourselves able to bear great burdens of the 
infirmities of our brethren ; and thus did Christ long bear the infirmities of 
his weak disciples that followed him ; and the apostle, Gal. vi. 1, counts it 
the office of those that are strong, to restore such as are fallen with the 
Spirit of meekness. 

3. A third sign of our growth is, if we find ourselves able, like Samson, 
to break the green cords of pleasure and profits, that they cannot bind us, 
and to run lightly away with a heavy load of afflictions, as Samson did with 
the city gates of Gaza, counting them light and momentary, as the apostle 
calls them, 2 Cor. iv. 17. 

4. Lastly, our growth of grace is seen in our performance of duties; if 
they be strongly, readily, and cheerfully performed ; an example whereof 
we have in the apostle, Phil. iv. 12, who could abound and suffer want, 
yea, could do all things through Christ that strengthened him : and this is 
in all Christians more or less, to content themselves in the will of God, and 
to run the race of God's commandments with a large and cheerful heart. 

Yer. 3, * And ye shall tread down the wicked, and they shall bo as dust. 

This is another promise made to the church, and in it to every member 
thereof, of victory over their enemies. God's children and the wicked are 
like scales, when the one is up, the other is down, j Therefore, as this is a 
promise to the children of God, so is it a threatening to the wicked; for it 
is the happiness of the church ' to tread down the wicked,' which words 
must have a large interpretation ; for the wicked generally seem to tread 
down the godly, and therefore we must know that these words were spoken 
to the Jews, and in them to all other Christians analogically ; and it was 
fulfilled, first, when the good Jews saw the confusion of all the rebeUious 


Jews under Vespasian, when the temple and the city was destroyed, and 
they made a by-word unto the nations. Secondly, the words may have 
reference to the conversion of the Jews, whenas all the enemies of their 
glorious conversion shall be trodden down, as it is in Micah iv. 13, 'Arise, 
Zion : thou shalt beat in pieces many people ; ' for undoubtedly there 
is a glorious conversion of the Jews to come, in what manner and at what 
time we hope ere long to know ; for ever since this prophecy their estate 
and condition hath been very low and mean, and there must come a time 
of restoring. In the next place, these words may be intended as a promise 
to all God's church ; for while they gloriously and powerfully profess the 
truth, they are the head and not the tail, ruling and not ruled, as appear- 
eth by the Jews' example. 

1. First, While they obeyed God, they were a terror to the whole earth, 
but once fallen from God, they were and remain a scorn to all people ; 
and thus is it now where the white horse goes before, the red horse follows 
after, as it is in the Revelation, Rev. vi. 4. So long as the church keeps 
good terms with God, none so terrible as they, and their enemies knoweth 
this full well: 'Let us take him, God hath forsaken him, and he shall 
fall into our net,' Ps. Ixxi. 11. 

2. Secondly, The church treadeth down its enemies in regard of true 
JHLhjinent and discerning of their estates ; for they do think and account of 
the wicked as a vile and abominable thing, and as of an object of pity; and 
this the wicked do know, and this makes them hate God's children. 

3. Thirdly, The church of God tramples on all tilings that rule wicked 
men, B.S riches, honours, and the like; and therefore, in the Apocalypse, it 
is said to 'tread on the moon,' Rev. xii. 1; that is, putting all earthly, 
worldly things under it ; and thus did Moses, Daniel, and Paul. All is 
dross and dung in comparison of Christ; and thus is the church and 
child of God a spiritual king. 

4. Fourthly, The church and children of God tread down the wicked in 
regard of their example, for by it and by the word they subdue the spirits of 
the world, and bind kings in chains, bringing down their mighty strong 
corruptions and hard hearts to obedience, and if not, yet by making them 
inexcusable, we fasten a censure and a sentence of condemnation which 
hereafter is executed on them ; and thus the saints in old time were said 
to condemn the world, and the white horse to go forth conquering ; and 
there is no man but he must either yield or he is condemned already'; and 
the arrows of God stick fast in him even here, and the liberty they seem to 
have is no other but as the liberty of the Tower.* 

5. But lastly, this promise is accomplished at the last day of judgment, 
when we shall sit with Christ as kings, ruling with him, and as judges of 
the tv/elve tribes of Israel, judges of the world. We are here conquerors 
of the world, flesh, and devil ; but then all things shall be put under our 
feet. And this should comfort us in our sufferings under wicked men; fof 
at that time those that now triumph over us shall be trodden down as dust. 
And again, we should learn not to fret to see the prosperity of the wicked, 
Ps. xxxvii. 1. They are but flowers of a day's continuance. Who env'es 
the estate or happiness of a base person that in a play acts the person of a 
king ? This world is no other than a stage play. Let the wicked be in 
never so great a place, he must return to his rags ; and the good man, 
though he acts the part of a beggar here for a while, he shall be a king 

* That, is of ' the Tower of London,' within which State prisoners were confined. 




hereafter for ever, and in the mean time God considers of him as his dear 
son, and it is no matter how high or low he is in the subsidy* book. 

If we see ill men therefore advanced, and scandalous men insult, let us 
enter into the sanctuary, and then we shall see their end to bo cursing ; 
and feed we ourselves with meditations, by faith seeing ourselves sitting in 
judgment on these wicked men. For God's truth and justice will not 
always sutler these men to rulHe,f for then the devil would be a better 
master than Christ. And for the present times, do we see that wicked 
men prevails and increases, take no scandal at it. We know we have as 
great promises as the Jews ever had ; though by these trials God doth 
purge and quicken his church, it- will not always be thus. The beast is 
going to destruction. They may serve for a while as scouring stutf to purge 
the church, or as horse-leeches to suck the corrupt blood of the church, 
and when this work is done, they shall be thrown on the dunghill. It will 
be thus ere long. ' Babylon is fallen ; ' and as Christ out of his deep and 
basest abasement under death did rise to the highest pitch of glory, so his 
enemy antichrist contrarily, when he is most high and lifted up, shall 
suddenly and irrecoverably come tumbling down, and at the judgment day 
shall be more despicable and confounded. He shall be cast into the lake 
of fire burning with brimstone, Rev. xix. 20. Amen ! 

* That is, ' the tax-book,' = how great or liow small his income is. — G. 
t See our Glossar}', sub voce. — G. 




The ' Divine Meditations and Holy Contemplations ' appeared originally in a 
small volume (18mo.), published in 1638, having a finely-engraved title-page. A 
second edition was issued in 1651, and a third in 1658. The last is oiir text, and 
its title-page will be found below.* These ' Meditations ' seem to have been taken 
from Sibbes's Commonplace book, or from his lips as they occurred in his Sermons, 
as many of them will be found scattered up and down his writings. G. 




That Eeverend Divine, 
Master of Catherine Hall in Cam- 
bridge, and sometimes Preacher 
of Graves Inne in 

The third Edition Corrected. 


Printed for Simon Miller at the Starre in 

S' Pauls Church-yard, near the 

West end. 1658. 


Courteous Eeader, — Thou hast here meditation upon meditation offered 
to thy consideration, as a help to thee when thou art privately alone. 

As sweet spices yield small savour until they are beaten to powder, so 
the wonderful works of God are either not at all, or very slightly smelled 
in the nostrils of man, who is of a dull sense, unless they be rubbed and 
chafed in the mind, through a fervent afl'ection, and singled out with a par- 
ticular view ; like them which tell money, who look not confusedly at the 
whole heap, but at the value of every parcel. So then a true Christian 
must endeavour himself to deliver, not in gross, but by retail, the millions 
of God's mercy to his soul ; in secret thoughts, chewing the cud of every 
circumstance with continual contemplation. And as a thrifty gardener, 
which is loath to see one rose leaf to fall from the stalk without stilling ; * 
so the Christian soul is unwilling to pass, or to stifle the ' beds of spices,' 
in the garden of Christ, without gathering some fruit. Cant. vi. 2, which 
contain a mystery and hidden virtue ; and our ' camphire clusters ' in the 
vineyards of Engedi,' Cant. i. 14, must be resolved into drops by the still 
of meditation, or else they may be noted for weeds in the herbal of men, 
which hath his full of all kinds. But some are slightly passed over, as the 
watery herbs of vanity, which grow on every wall of carnal men's hearts, 
and yield but a slight taste how good the Lord is, or should be to their 
souls. It therefore behoveth us, first, to mind the tokens of his mercy 
and love, and afterwards for the helping of our weak digestion, to champ 
and chew by an often revolution, every part and parcel thereof, before we 
let it down into our stomachs ; that by that means it may eflectually 
nourish every vein and living artery of our soul, and fill them full with the 
pure blood of Christ's body, the least drop whereof refresheth and cheereth 
the soul and body of him which is in a swoon through his sin, and maketh 
him apt to walk and talk as one who is now living in Christ. 

By this sweet meditation the soul taketh the key where all her evidences 
lie, and peruses the bills and articles of covenant agreed and condescended 
unto between God and man. There she seeth the great grant and pardon 
of her sins, subscribed unto by God himself, and sealed with the blood of 

There he beholdeth his unspeakable mercy to a prisoner condemned to 
* That is, ' distilling.'— G. 


die, without which at the last in a desperate case he is led and haled unto 
execution, by the cursed crew of hellish furies. 

Here she learneth how the Holy Land is entailed, and retaileth by dis- 
course the descent from Adam, unto Abraham and his son Isaac, and so 
forward unto all the seed of the faithful. By meditation the soul prieth 
into the soul, and with a reciprocal judgment examineth herself and every 
faculty thereof, what she hath, what she wanteth, where she dwelleth, 
where she removeth, and where she shall be. 

By this she feeleth the pulses of God's Spirit beating in her ; the sugges- 
tions of Satan ; the corruptions of her own affections, who like a cruel 
step-dame mingleth poisons and pestilent things to murder the Spirit, to 
repel every good motion, and to be in the end the lamentable ruin of the 
whole man. 

Here she standeth, as it were with Saul upon the mountains, beholding 
the combat between David and Goliah ; between the Spirit and the uncir- 
cumcised raging of the flesh, the stratagems of Satan, the bootless attempts 
of the world. 

Here appear her own infirmities, her relapses into sin, herself astonied 
by the bufiets of Satan, her fort shrewdly * battered by carnal and fleshly 
lusts, her colours and profession darkened and dimmed through the smoke 
of affliction, her faith hidden because of such massacres and treasons ; her 
hope banished with her mistrust ; herself hovering ready to take flight 
from the sincerity of her profession. 

Here she may discern, as from the top of a mast, an army coming, 
whose captain is the Spirit, guarded with all his graces ; the bloody arms 
of Christ by him displayed, the trumpets' sound, Satan vanquished, the 
world conquered, the flesh subdued, the soul received, f profession bettered, 
and each thing restored to his former integrity. 

The consideration hereof made Isaac go meditating in the evening, 
Gen. xxiv. G3. 

This caused Hezekiah to * mourn like a dove, and chatter like a pye ' in 
his heart, in deep silence, Isa. xxxviii. 14. 

This forced David to meditate in the morning, nay, all the day long, 
Ps. Ixiii. 6, and cxix. 148th vei'se, as also by night in ' secret thoughts,' 
Ps. xvi. 7. 

This caused Paul to give Timothy this lesson to meditate, 1 Tim. iv. 13, 
seq. And God himself commanded Joshua, when he was elected governor, 
that he should meditate upon the law of Moses both day and night, to the 
end he might perform the things written therein, Josh. i. 8. 

And Moses addeth this clause, teaching the whole law from God him- 
self, ' These words must remain in thy heart, thou must meditate upon 
them, both at home and abroad, when thou goest to bed, and when thou 
risest in the morning,' Deut. vi. 7. 

This meditation is not a passion of melancholy, nor a fit of fiery love, 
nor covetous care, nor senseless dumps, but a serious act of the Spirit in 
* That is, ' injuriously.'— G. ■(• Qu- ' revived ' ? — G. 


the inwards of the soul, whose object is spiritual, whose affection is a 
provoked appetite to practise holy things ; a kindling in us of the love of 
God, a zeal towards his truth, a healing our benumbed hearts, according 
to that speech of the prophet, ' My heart did wax hot within me, and fire 
did kindle in my meditations,' Ps. xxxix. 3, the want whereof caused 
Adam to fall, yea, and all the earth, into utter desolation ; for there is no 
man considereth deeply in his heart, Jer. xii. 16. If Cain had considered 
the curse of God, and his heavy hand against that grievous and crying 
sin, he would not have slain his own brother. If Pharaoh would have 
set his heart to ponder of the mighty hand of God by the plagues already 
past, he should have prevented those which followed, and have foreslowed* 
bis haste in making pursuit, with the destruction of himself and his whole 

If Nadab and Abihu had regarded the fire they put in their censers, they 
might have been safe from the fire of heaven. 

To conclude, the want of meditation hath been the cause of so many 
fearful events, strange massacres, and tragical deaths, which have from 
time to time pursued the drowsy heart and careless mind ; and in these 
our days is the butchery of all the mischiefs which have already chanced 
unto our countrymen ; for whilst God's judgments are masked, and not 
presented to the view of the mind by the serious work of the same, though 
they are keen and sharp, it being sheathed, they seem dull, and of no 
edge unto us, which causeth us to prick up the feathers of pride and inso- 
lency, and to make no reckoning of the fearful and final reckoning which 
most assuredly must be made, will we, nill we, before God's tribunal. 
Hence it cometh to pass that our Enghsh gentlewomen do brave it with 
such outlandish manners, as though they could dash God out of counte- 
nance, or roistf it in heaven as they carve it here, so that thousands are 
carried to hell out of their sweet perfumed chambers, where they thought 
to have lived, and are snatched presently from their pleasant and odori- 
ferous arbours, dainty dishes, and silken company, to take up their room 
in the dungeon and lake of hell, which burneth perpetually with fire and 

And for want of this, God's children go limping in their knowledge, and 
carry the fire of zeal in a flinty heart, which, unless it be hammered, will 
not yield a spark to warm and cheer their benumbed and frozen affections 
towards the worship and service of God, and the hearty embracing of his 

By this God's works of creation are slipped over, even * from the cedar 
to the hyssop that groweth on the wall,' 1 Kings iv. 33. 

The sun, the moon, the stars, shine without admiration ; the sea and 
the earth, the fowls, fishes, beasts, and man himself, are all esteemed as 
common matters in nature. Thus God worketh those strange creatures 
without that glory performed which is due, and his children receive not 
that comfort by the secret meditation of God's creation as they might. 
* That is, ' slackened beforeliand.'— G. t That is, ' roister.'— G. 



Hence it proceedeth that they are often in their clumps, fearing as though 
they enjoyed not the hght; whereas if they would meditate and judge aright 
of their estates, they might find they are the sons of God, and heirs of that 
rich kingdom most apparently * known and established in heaven, and shall 
suddenly •]- possess the same, even then most likely when their flesh thinketh 
it farthest off; as the heir being within a month of his age, maketh such a 
reckoning of his lands that no careful distress can trouble him. But this 
consideration being partly through Satan's, and partly through their own 
dulness and over-stupidness, they fare like men in a swoon, and as it were 
bereaved of the very life of the Spirit, staggering under the burden of 
afiliction, stammering in their godly profession, and cleaving sometimes 
unto the world. Through this they carry Christ's promises like comforts 
in a box, or as the chirurgeon his salves in his bosom. 

Meditation applieth, meditation healeth, meditation instructeth. If thou 
lovest wisdom and blessedness, meditate in the law of the Lord day and 
night, and so make use of these Meditations to quicken thee up to duty, 
and to sweeten thy heart in thy way to the heavenly Jerusalem. Fare- 
well. — Thy friend, 


* That is, ' manifestly.' — G. f That is, ' quickly,' = ' soon.' — G. 

% For notice of this profound thinker, see Dr Brown's reprint of ' The Light of 
Nature,' with Essay by Dr Cairns ; and of. our Bibliographical List of editions of 
Sibbes's Works at end of this volume, under ' Divine Meditations.' — G. 


1. That man hath made a good progress in religion that hath a high 
esteem of the ordinances of God ; and though perhaps he find himself dead 
and dull, yet the best things have left such a taste and relish in his soul, 
that he cannot be long without them. This is a sign of a good temper. 

2. A wife, when she marries a husband, gives up her will to him. So 
doth every Christian when he is married to Christ. He gives up his will 
and all that he hath to him, and saith, ' Lord, I have nothing but if thou 
callest for it thou shalt have it again.' 

3. When we come to religion, we lose not our sweetness, but translate 
it. Perhaps before we fed upon profane authors, now we feed upon holy 
truths. A Christian never knows what comfort is in religion till he come 
to be downright ; as Austin saith, ' Lord, I have wanted of thy sweetness 
over long; all my former life was nothing but husks.'* 

4. God takes care of poor weak Christians that are struggling with temp- 
tations and corruptions. Christ carries them in his arms. All Christ's 
sheep are diseased, and therefore he will have a tender care of them, Isa. 
xL 11. 

5. Whatsoever is good for God's childi-en, they shall have it; for all is 
theirs, to further them to heaven. Therefore if poverty be good, they shall 
have it; if disgrace be good, they shall have it; if crosses be good, they 
shall have them ; if misery be good, they shall have it ; for all is ours, to 
serve for our main good. 

6. God's children have these outward things with God himself. They 
are as conduits to convey his favour to us ; and the same love that moved 
God to give us heaven and happiness, the same love moves him to give us 
daily bread. 

7. The whole hfe of a Christian should be nothing but praises and thanks 
to God. We should neither eat, nor drink, nor sleep, but eat to God, and 
sleep to God, and work to God, and talk to God ; do all to his glory and 

8. Though God deliver not out of trouble, yet he delivers from the ill 
in trouble, from despair in trouble, by supporting the spirit. Nay, he 
delivers bi/ trouble, for he sanctifies the trouble to cure the soul, and by 
less troubles he delivers from greater. 

9. What are we but a model of God's favours? What do we see, or 

* A frequent plaint of Augustine in the ' Confessions.' — G, 


what do wo taste, but matter of the mercies of God? The miseries of 
others shonki be matter of praise to us. The sins of others should make 
us praise God, and say, ' Lord, it might have been my case, it might have 
befallen me.' 

10. God pities our weakness in all our troubles and afflictions. He will 
not stay too long, lest we out of weakness put our hands to some shifts.* 
He will not suffer the rod of the wicked to rest upon the lot of the righteous, 
Ps. cxxv. 3. 

11. Is it not an unreasonable speech for a man at midnight to say it 
will never be day? And so it is an unreasonable thing for a man that is 
in trouble to say, ' Lord, I shall never get out of this ! it will always be 
thus with me.' 

12. Do the wicked think to shame or fear good men? No; a spirit of 
grace and glory shall rest upon them. They shall not only have a spirit of 
grace rest upon them, but a spirit of glory, so that their countenances shall 
shine as Stephen's did when he was stoned. Acts vi. 15. 

13. If God hides his face from us, what shall become of our souls. We 
are like the poor flower that opens and shuts with the sun. If God shines 
upon the heart of a man, it opens ; but if he withdraws himself, we hang 
down our heads : ' Thou turnedst away thy face, and I was troubled,' Ps. 
XXX. 7. 

14. When we have given up ourselves to God, let us comfort our souls 
that God is our God. When riches, and treasures, and men, and our lives 
fail, yet God is ours. We are now God's Davids, and God's Pauls, and 
God's Abrahams; we have an everlasting being in him. 

15. A special cause of too much dejection is want of resolution in good 
things, when we halt in religion ; for as halting is a deformed and trouble- 
some gesture, so in religion, halting is always joined with trouble and dis- 

16. God hath made the poorest man that is a governor of himself, and 
hath set judgment to rule against passion and conscience against sin ; there- 
fore reason should not be a slave to passion. 

17. It is the peculiar wisdom of a Christian to pick arguments out of his 
worst condition, to make him thankful. And if he be thankful, he will be 
joyful ; and so long as he is joyful he cannot be miserable. 

18. God hath made himself ours, and therefore it is no presumption to 
challenge him to be our God. When once we have interest in God, he 
thinks nothing too good for us. He is not satisfied in giving us the bless- 
ings of this life, but he gives himself unto us. 

19. As we receive all from God, so we should lay all at his feet, and 
say, ' I will not live in a course of sin that will not stand with the favour 
of my God;' for he will not lodge in the heart that hath a purpose to 

20. God's people have sweet intercourse with God in their callings. 
When we look for comfort, we shall find it either in hearing, reading, or 
praying, &c., or else in our callings. 

21. We glorify God when we exalt him in our souls above all creatures 
in the world, when we give him the highest place in our love and in our 
joy, when all our affections are set upon him as the chiefest good. This is 
seen also by opposition, when we will not ofi'end God for any creature, 
when we can ask our affections, ' Whom have I in heaven but thee ? ' Ps. 
Ixxiii. 25. 

* That is, ' expedients.' — G. 


22. There is no true zeal to God's glory but it is joined with true love 
to men ; therefore let men that are violent, injurious, and insolent, never 
talk of glorifying God so long as they despise poor men. 

23. If we do not find ourselves the people of God's delight, let us attend 
upon the means of salvation, and wait God's good time, and stand not dis- 
puting, ' Perhaps God hath not a purpose to save me ;' but fall to obedience, 
casting thyself into the arms of Christ, and say. If I perish, I will perish 

24. The love of God in Christ is not barren kindness. It is a love that 
reaches from everlasting to everlasting; from love in choosing us, unto 
love in glorifying of us. In all the miseries of the world, one beam of this 
loving-kindness of the Lord will scatter all. 

25. Our desires are holy if they be exercised about spiritual things. 
David desires not to be great, to be rich in the world, or to have power to 
be revenged upon his enemies, but that he may ' dwell in the house of the 
Lord, and enjoy his ordinances,' Ps. xxvii. 4. 

26. Desires shew the frame of the soul more than anything; as where 
there is a spring, it discovers itself by vapours that arise ; so the breathing 
of these desires shew that there is a spring of grace in the heart. 

27. Desires spring from the will; and the will being as the whole man, 
it moves all other powers to do their duty, and to see for the accomplishing 
of that it desires. Those therefore that pretend they have good desires, 
and yet neglect all means, and live scandalously, this is but a sluggish 

28. An hypocrite will not pray always, but a child of God never gives 
over; because he sees an excellency, a necessity, and a possibility of 
obtaining that he desires. He hath a promise for it: 'The Lord will 
fulfil the desires of them that fear him,' Ps. cxlv. 19. 

29. Prayer doth exercise all the graces of the Spirit. We cannot pray 
but our faith is exercised, our love, our patience ; which makes us set a 
high price upon that we seek after, and to use it well. 

30. God takes it unkindly if we weep too much, and over-grieve for loss 
of wife, child, or friend, or for any cross in the things of this life ; for it is 
a sign we fetch not that comfort from him which we should and may do. 
Nay, though our weeping be for our sins, we must keep a moderation in 
that. We must with one eye look upon our sins, and with the other eye 
look upon God's mercy in Christ; and therefore if the best grief must he 
moderated, what must the other ? 

31. The religious affections of God's people are mixed ; for they mingle 
their joy with weeping, and their weeping with joy, whereas a carnal heart 
is all simple. If he joy, he is mad ; if he be sorrowful, unless it be 
restrained, it sinks him ; but grace ahvays tempers the joy and sorrow of 
a Christian, because he hath always something to joy in and something to 
grieve for. 

32. We are members of two worlds. Now, whilst we live here, we must 
use this world ; for how many things doth this poor life of ours need ! We 
are passing away; and, in this passage of ours, we must have necessaries. 
But yet we must use the world as if we used it not; for there is a danger 
lest our affections cleave to the things of this life. 

33. It is a poorness of spirit in a Christian to be over joyful, or over- 
grieved for things worse than ourselves. If a man hath any grace, all the 
world is inferior to him; and therefore what a poorness of spirit is it to be 
over joyful, or over-much grieved, when all things are fading and vanish 



away. Let ns therefore bear continually in our minds, that all things here 
below are subordinate. 

34. A sincere heart that is burdened with sin, desires not heaven so 
much as the place where he shall be free from sin, and to have the image 
of God and Christ perfected in his soul ; and therefore a sincere spirit 
comes to hear the word, not so much because an eloquent man preacheth, 
as to hear divine truths : because the evidence of [thej Spirit goes with it, to 
work those graces. You cannot still a child with anything but the breast; 
so you cannot still the desires of a Christian, but with divine truths, as, 
Isa. xxvi. 8, ' The desires of our souls is to thy name and to the remem- 
brance of thee.' 

35. There is a thousand things that maj hinder good success in our 
affairs. What man can apply all things to a fit issue, and remove all things 
that may hinder ? Who can observe persons, times, places, advantages, 
and disadvantages ; and when we see these things there is naturally a 
passion, that it robs us of our knowledge : as, when a man sees any danger, 
there is such a fear or anger, that he is in a mist. So that, unless God 
give a particular success, there is none. As it is in the frame of a man's 
body ; it stands upon many joints, [and] if any of these be out of frame it 
hinders all the rest. 

36. If we will hold out, because the error is in want of deep apprehen- 
sion of the miseries we are in by nature ; let us labour therefore to have 
our hearts broken more and more. Upon this fault it was that the stony 
ground spoken of in the gospel wants rooting. Therefore it is Christian 
policy to suffer our souls to be humbled, as deep as possible may be, that 
there may be mould enough ; otherwise there may be a great joy in divine 
truths, and they may be comfortable, but all will be sucked up like dew 
when persecution comes, if it be not rooted. 

37. What is the reason that God's children sink not to hell when troubles 
are upon them? Because they have an inward presence strengthening 
them : for the Holy Ghost helps our infirmities, not only to pray, but to 
bear crosses, sweetening them with some glimpse of his gracious counte- 
nance. For what supports our faith in prayer, but inward strength from 

38. In prosperity, or after some deliverance, it is the fittest time for praise ; 
because then our spirits are raised up and cheered in the evidence of God's 
favour : for the greater the cross is from which we have been delivered, 
the more will the spirit be enlarged to praise God. 

39. Whenever we receive any good to our souls, or to our bodies, who- 
ever is the instrument, let us look to the principal; as in the gifts we 
receive, we look not to the bringer but to the sender. 

40. Take heed of Satan's policy, * That God hath forgotten me because 
I am in extremity ;' nay, rather God will then shew mercy, for now is the 
special time of mercy, therefore beat back Satan with his own weapons. 

41. Whatsoever God takes away from his children, he either supplies it 
with a great earthly favour, or else with strength to bear it. God gives 
charge to others to take a care of the fatherless and widow, and will he 
neglect them himself? 

42. That is spiritual knowledge, which alters the taste and relish of 
the soul: for we must know there is a bitter antithesis in our nature, 
against all saving truths ; there is a contrariety between our nature and 
that doctrine, which teacheth us, that we must ' deny ourselves,' Titus ii. 
12, and be saved by another. Therefore the soul must first be brought to 


relish, before it can digest : there must be first an holy harmony between 
our nature and truth. 

43. If we walk aright in God's ways, let us have heaven daily in our 
eye, and the day of judgment, and times to come, and this will stern* the 
course of our lives, and breed love in the use of the means, and patience 
to undergo all conditions. Let us have our eye with Moses upon him that 
is invisible, Heb. xi. 27. 

44. A man may know that he loves the world, if he be more careful to 
get than to use. For we are but stewards, and we should consider, I must 
be as careful in distributing as in getting : for when we are all in getting, 
and nothing in distributing, this man is a worldling ; though he be moderate 
in getting, without wronging any man, yet the world hath gotten his heart, 
because he makes not that use of it he should. 

45. It is a sottish conceit to think that we can fit ourselves for grace, as 
if a child in the womb could forward its natural birth. If Grod hath made 
us men, let us not make ourselves gods. 

4G. As natural life preserves itself by repelling that which is contrary to 
it, so, where the life of grace is, there is a principle of skill, of power, and 
strength to repel that which is contrary. 

47. It is the nature of the soul, that when it sees a succession of better 
things, it makes the world seem cheap ; when it sees another condition, 
not liable to change, then it hath a sanctified judgment to esteem of things 
as they are ; and so it overcomes the world. 

48. In the covenant of grace, God intends the glory of his grace above 
all. Now faith is fit for it, because it hath an uniting virtue to knit us to 
the mediator, and to lay hold of a thing out of itself ; it empties the soul 
of all conceit of worth, or strength, or excellency in the creature : and so 
it gives all the glory to God and Christ. 

49. What^ we are afraid to speak before men, and to do for fear of 
danger, let us be afraid to think before God. Therefore we should stifle 
all ill conceits in the very conception, in their very rising : let them be used 
as rebels and traitors, smothered at the first. 

50. The heart of man, till he be a believer, is in a wavering condition, 
it is 'never at quiet, and therefore it is the happiness of the creature to be 
satisfied, and to have rest : for perplexity makes a man miserable. If a 
man have but a little scruple in his conscience, he is like a ship in the sea, 
tossed with contrary winds, and cannot come to the haven. 

51. The righteousness of works leaves the soul in perplexity. That 
righteousness which comes by any other means than by Christ, leaves the 
soul unsettled, because the law of God promiseth life only upon absolute 
and personal performance. Now the heart of man tells him, that this he 
hath not done,' and such duties he hath omitted ; and this breeds perplexity, 
because the heart hath not whereon to stay itself. 

52. Glory follows afllictions, not as the day follows the night, but as the 
spring follows winter ; for the winter prepares the earth for the spring : so 
doth afllictions sanctified prepare the soul for glory. 

53. This life is not a life for the body, but for the soul ; and therefore 
the soul should speak to the body, and say, ' Stay, body, for if thou movest 
me to fulfil thy desires now, thou wilt lose me and thyself hereafter.' But 
if the body be given up to Christ, then the soul will speak a good word for 
it in heaven; as if it should say, 'Lord, there is a body of mine in the 

* That is, 'steer,' = place a helm at the stern. — G. 


earth, that did fiist for me, and pray with me:' it will speak for it as 
Pharaoh's butler to the kiug for Joseph, Gen. xli. 9. 

64. Afflictions makes a divorce and separation between the soul and sin. 
It is not a small thing that will work sin out of the soul; it must bo the 
spirit of burning, the fire of afflictions sanctified : heaven is for holiness, 
and all that is contrary to holiness afilictions works out, and so frames the 
soul to a further communion with God. 

55. "When the soul admires spiritual things, it is then a holy frame; and 
so long it will not stoop to any base comfort. "We should therefore labour 
to keep our souls in an estate of holy admiration. 

5G. All those whom Christ saves by virtue of his merit and payment, to 
those he discovers their wretched condition, and instead thereof a better to 
be attained ; he shews by whom we are redeemed, and from what, and 
unto what condition : the Spirit informing us thoroughly, that God enters 
into covenant with us. 

57. Spiritual duties are as opposite to flesh and blood as fire to water ; 
but, as anointing makes the members nimble, and strong, and cheerful, so, 
where the Spirit of God is in any man, it makes him nimble, and strong, 
and cheerful to good duties. But when we are drawn to them as a bear 
to the stake, for fear, or an inbred natural custom, this is not from the 
Spirit ; for where the Spirit is, there duties are performed without force, 
fear, or hopes. A child needs no extrinsecal motion to make him please 
his father, because it is inbred and natural to him. 

58. As the weights of a clock makes all the wheels to go, so artificial 
Christians are moved with things without them ; for they want this inward 
principle to make them do good things freely. But where the Spirit of 
God is, it works a kind of natural freedom. 

59. As the woman in the law, when she was forced by any man, if she 
cried out she was blameless, so if we unfeignedly cry unto Christ, and com- 
plain of our corruptions, that they are too strong for us, this will witness 
to our hearts that we are not hypocrites. 

60. Good duties come from unsound Christians as fire out of the flint ; 
but they flow from a child of God, as water out of a spring ; yet because 
there is flesh in them as well as spirit, therefore every duty must be gotten 
out of the fire. And yet there is a liberty, because there is a principle in 
them that resists the flesh. 

Gl. God's children are hindered in good duties by an inevitable weak- 
ness in nature, as after labour with drowsiness ; therefore ' the spirit may 
be willing when the flesh is weak,' Mat. xxvi. 41. If we strive therefore 
against this deadness and dulness, Christ is ready to make excuse for us, 
if the heart be right, as he did for his disciples. 

62. A child of God is the greatest freeman, and the best servant, even 
as Christ was the best servant, yet none so free ; and the greater portion 
that any man hath of his Spirit, the freer disposition he hath to serve every 
one in love. 

63. Sight is the most noblest sense. It is quick : it can see from earth 
to heaven in a moment. It is large : it can see the hemisphere of the 
heavens with one view. It is sure and certain : for in hearing we may be 
deceived. And, lastly, it is the most afiecting sense. Even so is faith the 
quickest, the largest, the most certain, and most afiecting. It is like an 
eagle in the clouds : at one view it sees Christ in heaven, and looks down 
into the world. It sees backward and forwards : it sees things past, pre- 
sent, and to come ; and therefore it is, that faith is expressed by beholding. 


64. A veil or covering had two uses amongst the Jews. One was sub- 
jection, and therefore the women were veiled ; another was obscurity, and 
therefore was the veil on Moses's face. Both these are now taken away in 
Christ ; for we serve God as ' sons,' and as a spouse her husband. We are 
still in subjection, but not servile ; and now also with ' open face' we 
behold the glory of the Lord. We behold the things themselves ; they are 
now clearly laid open ; the veil is taken away. 

65. Our happiness consists in our subordination and conformity to 
Christ ; and therefore let us labour to carry ourselves, as he did to his 
Father, to his friends, to his enemies. In the days of his flesh he prayed 
whole nights to his Father. How holy and heavenly-minded was he, that 
took occasion from vines, and stones, and sheep, to be heavenly-minded. 
And when he rose from the dead, his talk was only of things concerning 
the kingdom of God. For his carriage to his friends, ' he would not quench 
the smoking flax, nor break the bruised reed,' Mat. xii. 20. He did not 
cast Peter in the teeth with his denial. He was of a winning and gaining 
disposition to all. For his carriage to his enemies, he did not call for fire 
from heaven to destroy them, but shed many tears for them that shed his 
blood. * Jerusalem,' &c.. Mat. xxiii. 37 ; and upon the cross, ' Father, 
forgive them, for they know not what they do,' Luke xxiii. 34. So that if 
we will be minded like unto Christ, consider how he carried himself to his 
Father, to his friends, to his enemies, yea, to the devil himself. When 
he comes to us in wife, children, friends, &c., we must do as Christ did, 
bid ' Avoid, Satan ;' and when we have to deal with those that have the spirit 
of the devil in them, we must not render reproach for reproach, but answer 
them, * It is written.' 

66. When we find any grace wrought in us, we should have a holy 
esteem of ourselves, as when we are tempted to sin. What ! I that am 
an heir of heaven, a king, a conqueror, the son of God, a freeman, shall I 
stain myself? God hath put a crown upon my soul, and shall I cast my 
crown into the dirt ? No ; I will be more honourable. These are no 
proud thoughts, but befitting our estate. 

67. Those that are besotted with the false lustre of the world, do want 
spiritual light. Christ himself, when he was here upon the earth, he lived 
a concealed life ; only at certain times some beams broke out. So let it 
comfort us that our glory is hid in Christ, Now it is clouded with the 
malice of wicked men, and with our own infirmities. But let us comfort 
ourselves with this, that we are glorious in the eyes of God and his angels. 

68. As men after a fit of sickness grow much, so God's children grow, 
especially after their falls, sometimes in humility, sometimes in patience. 
As we may observe in plants and herbs, they grow at the root in winter, 
in the leaf in summer, and in the seed in autumn ; so Christians appear, 
sometimes humble, sometimes spiritual and joyful, and sometimes they 
grow in spiritual courage. 

69. That which we drew from the ' first Adam' was the displeasing of 
God, but we draw from the ' second Adam' the favour of God. From the 
' first Adam' we drew corruption, from the ' second Adam' we drew* grace : 
from the ' first Adam' we drew misery and death, and all the miseries that 
follow death. We draw from the ' second Adam' life and happiness. What- 
soever we had from the * first Adam' we have it repaid more abundantly in 
the second. 

70. Grace makes us glorious, because it puts glory upon the soul. It 

* Qu, ' draw ' ?— Ed. 


carries the soul above all earthl}^ tbiu^s : it tramples tbe world under ber 
feet : it prevails against corruptions, tbat foil ordinary men, A man is not 
more above beasts than a Christian that hath grace is above other men. 

71. It is an evidence that we are gracious men, if we can look upon the 
lives of others that are better than we, and love and esteem them glorious. 
A man may see grace in others with a malignant eye ; for natural men are 
so vaiu-glorious, that when they see the lives of other men outshine theirs, 
instead of imitation they darken. What grace they will not imitate, they 
will defame. Therefore those that can see grace in others, and honour it 
in them, it is a sign they have grace themselves. Men can endure good 
in books, and to hear good of men that are dead, but they cannot endure 
good in the lives of others to be in their eyes, especially when they come 
to compare themselves with them. They love not to be out- shin ed. 

72. As the sun goes its course, though we cannot see it go ; and as 
plants and herbs grow, though we cannot perceive them : even so it follows 
not, that a Christian grows not, because he cannot see himself grow. But 
if they decay in their first love, or in some other grace, it is that some 
other grace may grow and increase, as their humility, their broken-heart- 
edness. Sometimes they grow not in extension, that they may grow at the 
root. Upon a check, grace breaks out more ; as we say after a hard win- 
ter, usually there follows a glorious spring. 

73. God's children never hate corruption more than when they have 
been overcome by corruption. The best men living have some corruptions, 
which they see not till they break out by temptations. Now when corrup- 
tions are made known to us, it stirs up our hatred, and hatred stirs up 
endeavour, and endeavour revenge ; so that God's children should not be 
discouraged for their falls. 

74. When the truth of grace is wrought in a Christian, his desires go 
beyond his strength, and his prayers are answerable to his desires. Where- 
upon is it that young Christians oftentimes call their estate in question, 
because they cannot bring heaven upon earth, because they cannot be per- 
fect ; but God will have us depend upon him for increase of grace in a daily 

75. Christ is our pattern, whom we must strive to imitate. It is neces- 
sary that our pattern should be exact, that so we might see our imperfec- 
tions, and be humbled for them, and live by faith in our sanctification. 

76. Consider Christ upon the cross as a public person, that when he 
was crucified, and when he died, he died for my sins, and this knowledge 
of Christ will be a crucifying knowledge. This will stir up my heart to 
use my corruptions, as my sins used Christ. As he hated my sin, so it will 
work the same disposition in me, to hate this body of death, and to use it as 
it used Christ, answerably. As we see this clearly, it will transform us. 

77. With our contemplation let us join this kind of reasoning. God so 
hated pride, that he became humble to the death of the cross, to redeem 
me from it, and shall I be proud ? And when we are stirred up to revenge, 
consider that Christ prayed for his enemies. When we are tempted to dis- 
obedience, think God in my nature was obedient to the death, and shall 
I stand upon terms ? And when we grow hard-hearted, consider Christ 
became man, that he might shew bowels of his mercy. Let us reason thus 
when we are tempted to any sin, and it will be a means to transform us 
from our own cursed likeness into the likeness of Christ. 

78. When we see God blasphemed, or the like, let us think, how would 
Christ stand affected if he were here ? When he was here upon earth, how 


zealous was he against profaneness, and shall I be so cold ? When he saw 
the multitude wander as sheep without a shepherd, his bowels yearned ; 
and shall we see so many poor souls live in darkness, and our bowels not 
yearn ? Mat. ix. 36. 

79. We must look upon Christ, not only for healing, but as a perfect 
pattern to imitate ; for wherefore else did he live so long upon earth, but to 
shew us an example. And let us know that wo shall be countable* for 
those good examples which we have from others. There is not an example 
of an humble, holy, and industrious life, but shall be laid to our charge ; 
for God doth purposely let them shine in our eyes, that we might take 
example by them. 

80. As the spirits in the arteries quickens the blood in the veins, so the 
Spirit of God goes along with the word, and makes it work. St Paul 
speaks to Lydia, but the Spirit speaks to her heart. As it was with Christ 
himself, so it is with his members. He was conceived by the Spirit, 
anointed by the Spirit, sealed by the Spirit. He was led into the wilder- 
ness by the Spirit. He offered up himself by the Spirit, and by the Spirit 
he was raised from the dead. Even so the members of Christ do answer 
unto Christ himself. All is by the Spirit : we are conceived by the Spirit. 
The same Spirit that sanctified him sanctifies us ; but first we receive the 
Spirit by way of union, and then unction follows after. When we are knit 
to Christ by the Spirit, then it works the same in us as it did in him, 

81. When a proud wit and supernatural truths meet together, such a 
man will have something of his own. Therefore in reading and studying 
of heavenly truths, especially the gospel, we must come to God for his 
Spirit, and not venture upon conceits of our own parts ; for God will curse 
such proud attempts. 

82. Many men think that the knowledge of divine truths will make them 
divine, whereas it is the Holy Ghost only that gives a taste and relish, for 
without the Spirit their hearts will rise when the word comes to them in 
particular, and tells them you must deny yourself, and venture your life 
for his truth. 

83. When men understand the Scriptures, and yet are proud and mali- 
cious, we must not take scandalf at it, for their hearts were never subdued. 
They understand supernatural things by human reason, and not by divine light. 

84. Those that measure lands are very exact in everything, but the poor 
man whose it is knows the use of the ground better, and delights in it 
more, because it is his own. So it is with those ministers that can exactly 
speak of heavenly truths, yet have no share in them ; but the poor soul that 
hears them rejoiceth, and saith. These things are mine. 

85. This life is a life of faith; for God will try the truth of our faith, 
that the world may see that God hath such servants as will depend upon 
his bare word. It were nothing to be a Christian if we should see all here. 
But God will have his children to live by faith, and take the promises upon 
his word. 

86. The nature of hope is to expect that which faith believes. What 
could the joys of heaven avail us if it were not for our hope? It is the 
anchor of the soul, which being cast into heaven, it stills the soul in all 
troubles, combustions, and confusions that we daily meet withal. 

87. It is too much curiosity to search into particulars, as what shall 
be the glory of the soul, and what shall be the glory of the body. Eather 

* That is, ' accountable.' — 'G. 

t That is, must not make it a ' stumbling-block.' — G. 


study to make a gracious use of them, and in humility say, ' Lord, what is 
sinful man, that thou shouldst so advance him?' Ps. viii. 4. The con- 
sideration of this should make us ahase ourselves, and in humility give 
thanks aforehand, as Peter did, 1 Peter i. 1. When he thought of an 
inheritance immortal and undefiled, and that fadeth not, he gives thanks, 
* Blessed he God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which, according to 
his abundant mercy, hath begotten us,' &c. 

88. When we see men look big and swell with the things of this life, let 
us in a holy kind of state think of our happiness in heaven, and carry our- 
selves accordingly. If we see anything in this world, let us say to our 
souls, This is not that I look for; or when we hear of anything that is good, 
let us say, I can hear this, and therefore this is not that I look for ; or 
when we understand anything here below, this is not the thing I look for: 
' But for things that eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor that ever entered 
into the heart of man,' 1 Cor. ii. 9. 

89. There are four things observable in the nature of love : first, an 
estimation of the party beloved ; secondly, a desire to be joined to him ; 
thirdly, a settled contentment ; fourthly, a desire to please the party in all 
things. So there is first in every Christian an high estimation of God and 
of Christ. He makes choice of him above all things, and speaks largely in 
his commendations. Secondly, he desires to be united to him, and where 
this desire is, there is an intercourse. He will open his mind to him by 
prayer, and go to him in all his consultations for his counsel. Thirdly, he 
places contentment in him alone, because in his worst conditions he is at 
peace and quiet if he may have his countenance shine upon him. Fourthly, 
he seeks to please him, because he labours to be in such a condition that 
God may delight in him. His love stirs up his soul to remove all things 
distasteful. It seeks out, as David did: ' Is there never a one left of the 
house of Saul to whom I may do good for Jonathan's sake?' 2 Sam. ix. 1. 

90. Infirmities in God's children preserves their grace. Therefore it is 
that in God's Scripture, where God honours the saints, their weaknesses 
are made known. Jacob wrestled with God and prevailed, but he halted, 
Gen. xxxii. 24 ; and Peter, ' Upon this rock will I build my church,' Mat. 
xvi. 18 ; yet, ' Get thee behind me, Satan,' Mat. xvi, 23. ' Paul was 
exalted above measure with revelations, but he had the messenger of 
Satan to buffet him,' 2 Cor. xii. 7. 

' 91. It is the poisonful nature of man to quench a great deal of good for 
a little ill. But Christ cherishes a little grace, though there be a great 
deal of corruption, which yet is as offensive to him as smoke. Therefore 
we should labour to gain all we can by love and meekness. 

92. Christians find their corruptions more offensive to them than when 
they were in the state of nature, and therefore it is that they think their 
estate is not good, but then corruption boils more, because it is restrained. 

93. The more will, the more sin. When we venture upon sini'ul courses, 
upon deliberation, it exceedingly wastes our comfort. When we fall into 
sin against conscience, and abuse our Christian liberty, God fetches us 
again by some severe afHiction. There shall be a cloud between God's 
face and us, and he will suspend his comforts for a long time. Therefore 
let no man venture upon sin, for God will take a course with him that shall 
be little to his ease. 

94. The reason why mean Christians have more loving souls than men 
of greater parts, is because great men have corruptions answerable to their 
parts. Great gifts, great doubts. They are entangled with arguments, 


and study to inform their brains, when others are heated with affection. A 
poor Christian cares not for cold disputes. Instead of that he loves; and 
that is the reason why a poor soul goes to heaven with more joy whilst 
others are entangled. 

95. Many men are troubled with cold affections, and then they think to 
work love out of their own hearts, which are like a barren wilderness, but 
we must beg of God the Spirit of love. We must not bring love to God, 
but fetch love from him. 

96. When we love things baser than ourselves it is like a sweet stream 
that runs into a sink. As our love therefore is the best thing we have, 
and none deserves it more than God, so let him have our love, yea, the 
strength of our love, that we may love him * with all our souls, and with 
all our mind, and with all our strength,' Lev. xix. 18. 

97. As the sun when it hath gotten to any height it scatters the clouds, 
so a Christian is then in his excellency when he can scatter doubts and 
fears, when in distress he can do as David did, comfort himself in the Lord 
his God. 

98. Many men would be in Canaan as soon as they are out of Egypt, 
they would be at the highest pitch presently. But God will lead us through 
the wilderness of temptations and afflictions till we come to heaven. And 
it is a part of our Christian meekness to submit to God, and not to mur- 
mur, because we are not as we would be. But let us rather magnify the 
mercies of God that works in us any love of good things, and that he 
vouchsafes us any beginnings. 

99. As noblemen's children have tutors to guide them, so God's chil- 
dren have the Spirit telling them. This you should do, and that you should 
not do. The Spirit not only changeth, but leads forward unto holiness. 
Wicked men have the Spirit knocking, and fain would enter, but they will 
not hear ; but God's children have the Spirit dwelling in them. 

100. A Christian is now in his nonage, and therefore not fit to have all 
that he hath a title to. But yet so much is allotted to him as will con- 
duct him, and give him a passage to heaven. If therefore he be in want 
he hath contentment, and in suffering he hath patience, &c. All things are 
his, as well what he wants as what he hath. 

101. The word of God is then in our hearts, when it rules in the soul, 
when it rules our thoughts, affections, and conversations, so that we dare 
not do anything contrary but we shall be checked. Who shall get out that 
which God's finger hath written in our hearts ? No fire nor faggot, no 
temptation whatsoever. 

102. We shall never be satisfied to our comfort, that the Scripture is 
the word of God, unless we know it from itself by its own light, and it 
shews itself abundantly to a believer in casting down the soul, and altering 
the mind and conversation. When the word is only in the brain, if there 
come a temptation stronger than our faith, then we despair. The word is 
far off from those that can oul}' discourse and talk of it, when they see it 
only as a natural truth, when they look upon holy things, not in a divine, 
but in a human manner. 

103. When the word dwells as a familiar in the heart, to direct, counsel, 
and comfort, then it is a sign it is there. The devil knows good and hates it, 
therefore knowledge alone is nothing. But when the promise doth alter 
the temper of the heart itself, then it is engrafted. 

104. God excepts against none, if we do not except ourselves. There- 
fore thou, and thou, whosoever thou art, if thou beast a man or a woman, 


and wilt come and take Christ upon his own terms, for thy Lord and 
hushand, for better for worse, with persecutions, afflictions, crosses, &c. 
Take Christ thus, and take him for ever, and then thou shalt be saved. 

105. When we behove divine truths by the Spirit, they work upon the 
heart and draw the afi'cctions after them. Therefore, if we spiritually 
beheve the story of the gospel, wo shall have our souls carried to love, and 
embrace it with joy and comfort, 

lOG. "We may be brought very low, but we shall not bo confounded ; 
yet we shall be brought as near confusion as may be, to shew us the vanity 
of the creature. In the judgment of the world we may be confounded, but 
a hand of mercy shall fetch us up again. Let the depth of misery and 
disconsolation be what it will be, we shall not be ashamed. 

107. The reason why God's children do oftentimes with great perplexity 
doubt of their salvation, is because they have a principle of nature in them 
as well as of grace. Corruption will breed doubtings. As rotten wood 
breeds worms, and as vermin comes out of putrefaction, so doubtings and 
fears come from the remainder of corrruption. 

108. For want of watchfulness God oftentimes gives us up to such a 
perplexed estate, that we shall not know that we are in grace, and though 
we may have a principle of grace in us, yet we shall not see it, but may 
go out of the world in darkness. 

109. We ought not at any time to deny the truth, nor yet at all times 
to confess it. For good actions and graces are like princes that come forth 
attended with circumstances, and if circumstances in confession be wanting, 
the action is marred. It is true of actions as of words : ' A word spoken 
in season is like apples of gold with pictures of silver,' Prov. xxv. 11. 
Therefore discretion must be our guide, for speech is then only good when 
it is better than silence. 

110. It is not lawful for any weak one to be present at the mass. Dinah 
ventured abroad, and came cracked home. It is just with God, that those 
that dally with 'these things should be caught, as many idle travellers are. 
It is pity but those should perish in danger that love danger. 

111. He that will not now deny himself in a lust, in a lawless desire, 
will not deny himself in matter of life in time of trial. He that hath not 
learned the mortification of the flesh in time of peace will hardly be brought 
to it in time of trouble. 

112. We must not only stand for the truth, but we must stand for it in 
a holy manner, and not swagger for it, as proud persons do. We must 
observe that in the first [Epistle] of Peter, iii. 15,, to do it * in meekness 
and fear.' We must not bring passion to God's cause, nor must our lives 
give our tongues the lie. 

113. There is such a distance between corrupt nature and grace, that 
we must have a great deal of preparation ; and though there be nothing in 
preparation to bring the soul to have grace, yet it brings the soul to a 
nearer distance than those that are w^ild* persons. 

114. Nature cannot work above its own powers, as vapours cannot 
ascend higher than the sun draws them. Our hearts are naturally shut, 
and God doth open them by his Spirit in the use of the means. The 
children of Israel in the wilderness saw wonders upon wonders, and yet 
when they came to be proved they could not believe. 

115. It is God's free love that hath cast us into these happy times of 
the gospel; and it is his further love that makes choice of some, and 

* That is = ' in a state of nature.' — G. 



refuses others. This should therefore teach us sound humility, consider- 
ing that God must open or else we are eternally shut. 

116. Seeing grace is not of our own getting, therefore this should teach 
us patience towards those that are under us, waiting if God at any time 
will give them repentance. Though God work not the first time, nor the 
second time, yet we must wait, as the man that lay at the pool of Bethesda 
for the moving of the water. 

117. He that attends to the word of God, doth not only know the 
words, which are but the shell, but he knows the things. He hath spiri- 
tual light, to know what faith and repentance is. There is at that time a 
spiritual echo in the soul, — as Ps. xxvii. 8, ' When thou said^t. Seek ye 
my face; my heart answered. Thy face. Lord, will I seek,' — and therefore 
must men judge of their profiting by the word; not by their carrying of it 
in their memories, but by how much they are made able by it to bear a 
cross, and how they are made able to resist temptation, &c. 

118. There should not be intimate familiarity but where we judge men 
faithful ; and those whom upon good grounds we judge faithful, we must 
be gentle towards them, and easy to be entreated ; and w^e wrong them 
if we shew ourselves strange unto them. 

119. True faith works love, and then it works by love. When it hath 
wrought that holy aSection, it works by it; as when the plant is engrafted 
and takes, it grows presently, and shews the growth in the fruits. 

120. The word of God is ancienter than the Scripture; for the first 
word of the Scripture was the promise, ' The seed of the woman should 
break the head of the serpent,' Gen. iii. 15. The Scripture is but that 
viodus, that manner of conveying the word of God. This Scripture is the 
rule whereby we must walk, and the judge also of all controversies of reli- 
gion; and in spite of the Church of Rome, it will judge them. _ St Augus- 
tine hath an excellent discourse : ' When there is contention betwixt 
brethren, witnesses are brought ; but in the end, the words, the will of the 
dead man is brought forth, and these words determine. Now, shall the 
words of a dead man be of force, and shall not the word of Christ deter- 
mine ? Therefore look to the Scripture' (a). 

121. All idolaters shall be ashamed that worship images, that trust to 
* broken cisterns.' Let those be ashamed that trust to their wits and 
policies. All those shall be ashamed that bear themselves big upon any 
earthly thing, for these crutches will be taken away, and then they fall. 
These false reports shall make them all ashamed. 

122. The way to bring faith into the heart is, first, there must be a 
judicious,* convincing knowledge of the vanity of all things within us and 
without us that seems to yield any support to the soul, and then the 
soul is carried to lay hold on Christ ; as David saith, ' I have seen an end 
of all perfection,' Ps. cxix. 96. Secondly, the soul must be convinced of 
an excellency in rehgion above all things in the world, or else it will 
not rest, for the heart of man would choose the best ; and when it is per- 
suaded that the gain in religion is above the world, then it yields. And, 
thirdly, a consideration of the firmness of the ground whereupon the pro- 
mise is built. Put God to it, therefore, either to make his promise good, 
or to disappoint us ; and he will be sure to make it good in our forgiveness 
of sin, proceeding in grace and strength, against temptations in time of trouble. 

123. Man is naturally of a shortf spirit; so that if he have not what he 
would, and when he would, he gives up, and shakes ofi" all. There is not 

* Qu. ' judicial ' ?—G. t Tliis is, ' hasty.'— G. 



a greater difference between a child of God and one that wants faith, than 
to be hasty. Such men, though they may be civil, yet they are of this 
mind. They will labour to be sure of something here ; they must have 
present pleasures and present profits. If God will save them in that way, 
so; if not, they will put it to a venture. 

124. There be many things to hinder this grace of waiting. There is a 
great deal of tedious time, and many crosses we meet with ; as the scorn 
and reproach of this world, and many other trials. God seems also to do 
nothing less than to perform his promise ; but let us comfort ourselves 
with this, that he waits to do them good that wait on him. 

125. We should labour to agree mutually in love, for that wherein any 
Christian differs from another is but in petty things. Grace knows no 
difference; the worms know no difference; the day of judgment knows no 
difference. In the worst things we are all alike base, and in the best things 
we are all alike happy. Only in this world God will have distinctions, for 
order's sake ; but else there is no difference. 

12G. Christians are like to many men of great means, that know not bow 
to make use of them. We live not like ourselves. Bring large faith, and 
we shall have large grace and comfort. We are scanted in our own bowels, 
therefore labour to have a large faith, answerable to our large riches. And 
though Christians be low enough in outward things, and oftentimes poorer 
than other men, yet they are rich; for Christ is rich unto them, in their 
crosses and abasements. That which they want in this world shall be made 
up in grace and glory hereafter. 

127. We ought daily to imitate Christ in our places, to be good to all; 
as the apostle saith, ' Be abundant always in the works of the Lord,' 1 Cor. 
XV. 58. Let us labour to have large hearts, that we may do it seasonably, 
and abundantly, and unweariedly. The love of Christ will breed in us the 
same impression that was in him. 

128. None come to God without Christ; none come to Christ without 
faith ; none come to faith without the means ; none enjoy the means but 
where God hath sent it. Therefore where there was no means of salva- 
tion before the coming of Christ, there was no visible intendment* of God 
ordinarily to save them. 

129. Preventing mercy is the greatest. How many favours doth God 
prevent us with ! We never asked for our being, nor for that tender 
love which our parents bore towards us in our tender years. We never 
asked for our baptism and engrafting into Christ. What a motive there- 
fore is that to stir us up, that when we come to years, we may plead with 
the Lord, and say, ' Thou hadst a care of me before I had a being; and 
therefore much more wilt thou now have a care of me, whom thou bast 
reconciled unto thyself, and remember me in mercy for time to come.' 

130. If God's mercy might be overcome with our sins, we should over- 
come it every day. It must be a rich mercy that must satisfy ; and there- 
fore the apostle never speaks of it without the extensions of love, * the 
height and depth.' We want words, we want thoughts, to conceive of it. 
We should therefore labour to frame our souls to have rich and large con- 
ceits and apprehensions of so large mercy. 

131. God is rich in mercy, not only to our souls, but in providing all 
we stand in need of. He keep us from ill, and so he is called a ' buckler;' 
he gives all good things, and so he is called a ' sun.' He keeps us in good 
estate, and advanceth us higher, so far as our nature shall be capable. 

* That is, ' design,' or ' intention.' — G. 



132. The sun shines on the moon and stars, and they shine upon the 
earth; so doth God shine in goodness upon us, that we might shine ia our 
extensions of goodness unto others, especially unto them of the household 
of faith. 

133. We are styled in Scripture to be good and righteous, because our 
understandings, our wills, and affections are our own ; but so far as they 
are holy, they are the Holy Ghost's. We are the principal in our actions, 
as they are actions ; but the Holy Ghost is principal of the hoHness of the 
action. The gracious government of the new creature is from the Spirit. 
If the Holy Ghost take away his government, and do not guide and assist 
us in every holy action, we are at a stand, and can go no further. 

134. Every man naturally is a god unto himself, not only in reflecting 
all upon himself, but in setting upon divine things in his own strength, as 
if he were principal in his own actions, coming to them in the strength of 
his own wit and in the strength of his own reason. This seed is in all 
men by nature, until God have turned a man out of himself, by the power 
of the Holy Ghost. 

135. Those that care not for the word, they are strangers from the 
Spirit ; and those that care not for the Spirit, never make right use of the 
word. The word is nothing without the Spirit; it is animated and quick- 
ened by the Spirit. The Spirit and the word are like the veins and 
arteries in the body, that give quickening and life to the whole body ; and 
therefore where the word is most revealed, there is most Spirit ; but where 
Christ is not opened in the gospel, there the Spirit is not at all visible. 

136. When Christ comes into the soul by the Spirit, then he carries 
himself familiarly, discovering the secrets of God the Father, and shewing 
what love there is in God toward us. It teacheth us how to carry ourselves 
in all neglects, and when we are at a loss it opens a way for us ; it resolves 
our doubts, it comforts us in our discouragements, and makes us go boldly 
to God in all our wants. 

137. As we may know who dwells in a house by observing who goes in 
and them that come out, so we may know that the Spirit dwells in us by 
observing what sanctified speeches he sends forth, and what delight he 
hath wrought in us to things that are special, and what price we set upon 
them. Whereas a carnal man pulls down the price of spiritual things, 
because his soul cleaves to something that he joys in more; and this is 
the cause why he slights the directions and comforts of the word. But 
those in whorn the Spirit dwells, they will consult with it, and not regard what 
flesh and blood saith, but will follow the directions of the word and Spirit. 

138. A Christian will not do common things, but, first, he sanctifies 
them, and dedicates himself, his person, and his actions to God, and so he 
sees God in all things. Whereas a carnal man sees reason only in all that 
he doth; but a Christian sees God in crosses to humble him, and every- 
thing he makes spiritual. Yet because there is a double principle in him, 
there will be some stirring of the flesh in his actions, and sometimes the 
worser part will appear most. But here is the excellency of a Christian's 
estate, that the Spirit will work it out at last. It will never let his heart 
and conscience alone till it be wrought out by little and little. 

139. The Spirit of God may be\nown to be in weak Christians. As 
the soul is known to be in the body by the pulses, even so the Spirit 
discovers itself in them by pulses, by groaning, sighing, complaining, that 

• it is so with them, and that they are no better; so that they are out of love 
with themselves. This is a good sign that the Spirit is there in some measure. 



140. "WTiere the Spirit dwells largely in any man, there is boldness in 
God's cause, a contempt of the world : ' He can do all things through 
Christ that strengthens him,' Philip, iv. 13. His, mind is content and 
settled. He can bear \\'ith the infirmities of others and not be ofl'ended, 
for it is the weak in spirit that are offended. He is ready in his desires 
to say, ' Come, Lord Jesus ; come quickly,' Kcv. xxii. 20. But where 
corruption bears sway there is, ' Oh stay a little, that I may recover my 
strength,' Ps. xxxix. 13; that is, stay a while that I may repent. For the 
soul is not fit to appear before God but where the Spirit dwells in grace 
and comfort. 

141. When we are young carnal delights lead us, and when we are old 
covetousness drowns us ; so that if our knowledge be not spiritual, we shall 
never hold out. And the reason why at the hour of death so many despair, 
is because they had knowledge without the Spirit. 

142. God gives comforts in the exercise and practice of grace. We 
must not therefore snatch comforts before we be fit for them. When we 
perform precepts, then God performs comforts. If we will make it good 
indeed that we love God, we must keep his commandments. We must not 
keep one, but all. It must be universal obedience fetched_ from the heart 
root, and that out of love. 

143. It is a true rule in divinity, that God never takes away any bless- 
ing from his people but he gives them a better. When Elijah was taken 
from EHsha into heaven, God doubled his Spirit upon Elisha. If God 
take away wife or children, he gives better things for them. The disciples 
parted with Christ's bodily presence, but he sent them the Holy Ghost. 

144. God will be known of us in those things wherein it is our comfort 
to know him. In all our devotions, the whole counsel of heaven comforts 
us jointl}'. The second person prays to the Father, and he sends the third, 
and as they have several titles, so they all agree in their love and care to 

145. In trouble, we are prone to forget all that we have heard and read 
that makes for our comfort. Now, what is the reason that a man comes 
to think of that which otherwise he should never have called to mind? The 
Holy Ghost brings it to his remembrance. He is a comforter, bringing to 
mind useful things at such times when we have most need of them. 

14G. Those that care not for the word of God, reject their comfort. All 
comfort must be drawn out of the Scriptures, which are the breasts of conso- 
lation. Many are bred up by education that they know the truth and are 
able to discourse of it, but they want the Spirit of truth ; and that is the rea- 
son why all their knowledge vanisheth away in time of trial and temptation. 

147. No man is a true divine but the child of God. He only knows holy 
things by a holy light and life. Other men, though they speak of these 
things, yet they know them not. Take the m^^sticallest points in religion, 
as justification, adoption, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, the 
sweet benefit of communion of saints, the excellent estate of a Christian in 
extremit}'-, to know what is to be done upon all occasions, inward sight and 
sorrow for sin, they know not what those things mean. For howsoever 
they may discourse of them, yet the things themselves are mysteries. Ee- 
pentance is a mystery, joy in the Holy Ghost is a mystery. No natural 
man, though he be never so great a scholar, knows these things experi- 
mentally ; but he knows them as physicians know physic, by their books, 
but not as a sick man by experience. 

148. It is a great scandal to religion that men of great learning and parts 


are wicked men. Hereupon the world comes to think that religion is 
nothing but an empty name ; so that, without this inward anointing, they 
never see spiritual things experimentally; but though they know these 
things in the brain, yet secretly in their hearts they make a scorn of con- 
version and mortification ; and though for his calling he may sj^eak of these 
things excellently, and with admiration, yet in particular he hath no power 
of them in his heart. 

149. It is good and comfortable to compare our condition Avith the con- 
dition of the men of the world; for howsoever they may excel in riches and 
learning, yet we have cause to bless God, as Christ saith in the 11th of 
St Matthew, ver. 25, ' I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, 
because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast 
revealed them unto babes.' It is good in all outward discouragements, 
when things go not well with us, thus to reason with ourselves. Wilt thou 
change thy estate with the men of the world ? God hath advanced thee 
to a higher order. Let them have their greatness. Alas ! they are miser- 
able creatures, notwithstanding all that they do enjoy. 

150. If we desire to have the Spirit, we must wait in doing good, as the 
apostles waited many days before the Comforter came. We must also 
empty our souls of self-love, and the love of the things of the world, and 
willingly entertain those crosses that bring our souls out of love with them. 
The children of Israel in the wilderness had no manna till they had spent 
their onions and garlic ; so this world must be out of request with us before 
we can be spiritual. Let us therefore labour to see the excellency of spiritual 
things, and how cheap and poor all the glory of the world is to those. These 
things, thought and considered on, will make us more and more spiritual. 

151. The Holy Ghost would not come till Christ, by his death, had 
reconciled his Father, and after that as an argument of full satisfaction 
had risen again, because the Holy Ghost is the best gift of God ; and 
whatsoever grace or comfort was received before was by virtue of this ; so 
that the sending of the Holy Ghost is the best fruit of God's reconciliation. 

152. Let a particular judgment come upon any man, presently his con- 
science recalls back what sins have been committed by him ; so that this 
waking of conscience shews that we are sinful creatures. 

153. Every man by nature, though the wisest, till he be in Christ, is a 
slave to the devil, who abuses his wits and parts, and makes him work out 
his own damnation. This is not the condition of a few fools ; but the 
greatest and wisest in the world. Satan leads them to honours and volup- 
tuousness, as a sheep is led by a green bough. He goes with the stream 
of man's natui'e, and so is never discerned. 

154. As a man that is called before a judgment-seat, being guilty of 
many crimes, yet the judge offers him his book, as meaning to save him 
by that means ; but he cannot read. Now he is condemned, partly for his 
former faults, but especially because he cannot read, and cannot have the 
benefit of the law (b) ; so therefore a wicked man, not believing in Christ, 
because the remedy is pi'epared, and he takes no hold of it. In this sense, 
as some divines speak, no sin but infidelity condemns a man ; for if a man 
could believe and repent, no sin should be prejudicial to his salvation. We 
had need, therefore, to look to our faith, when want of belief seals a man 
up under sin. A man is imprisoned in his conscience until he come to 
Christ, and his conscience is his jailor. His conscience, enlightened by the 
law, tells him that he is guilty of such and such sins, and hereupon keeps 
him to further judgment. 


155. There is a miserable cosenage in sin. Naturally, men will deny 
sin, or else mince it, as Adam did, and as Saul, when Samuel cume to con- 
vince him ; ' I have,' saith he, ' done the commandment of the Lord;' and 
when he wis driven from that, then ' he did but spare them for sacrifice ;' 
but when nothing could satisfy, ' then, I pray thee, honour me before the 
people,' 1 Sam. xv. 30. Things that we cannot justify, yet we will excuse 
them, unless God come by his Spirit. We are ready to shift them off". But 
when the Spirit comes, and takes away all these fig-leaves, then it convinces 
him of his miserable condition, not only in general, but the Spirit, working 
together with the word, brings him to confess, ' I am the man.' 

156. The affections of grief and sorrow follow upon the discovery of sin 
by the ministry of the word. Where the judgment is convinced, the affec- 
tions are stirred up with hatred against that sin ; and where this is not, 
there is no convincing. When a man cries for mercy as for life, this is an 
argument of sound condition. He that is truly convinced will be as glad 
of a pardon as a malefactor that stands at the bar condemned. 

157. It is the policy of the devil to labour to make us slight the gracious 
work of conviction ; for he knows that whatsoever is built upon a false 
foundation will come to nothing, and therefore he makes us slight the 
work of self- examining and searching of ourselves. But slight this, and 
slight all ; for if thou beest slight in searching and examining thyself, 
thou wilt also be slight in thy repentance and obedience. 

158. Naturally, men labour to put out all checks of conscience by sen- 
suahty. Men are loath to know themselves to be as they are. They 
are of the devil's mind, they would not be ' tormented before their time,' 
Mat. viii. 29. Such men, when they are alone, are afraid of themselves. 
As the elephant will not come near the waters because he hath an ill 
shape, he would not see himself, so men, by nature, will not come near 
the light, lest they should see their ill deformities. For nature is so 
foul, that when a man sees himself, unless he be set in a better con- 
dition, it will drive him to despair. 

159. We ought to have especial high conceits of the lordship of Christ, 
as lord paramount over all our enemies, the fear of death, and wrath of God ; 
yea, whatsoever is terrible indeed. He hath freed us from the fear of it. 

160. No sin is so great, but the satisfaction of Christ and his mercy 
is greater. It is beyond comparison of father or mother. They are but 
beams and trains to lead us up to the mercy of God in Christ. 

161. The greatest spite of a carnal man is, that he cannot go to 
heaven with his full swing; that he cannot enjoy his full hberty ; and 
therefore he labours to suppress all the ordinances of God as much as 
he can. 

162. The quintessence and the spirits of the things we ask in prayer 
are in God, as joy, and peace, and contcntcdness ; for without this joy and 
peace, what are all the things in the world ? and in the want of these out- 
ward things, if we have him we have all, because the spirits of all is 
in him. 

163. Prayer is a venting of our desires to God, from the sense of our 
own wants, and he that is sensible of his own wants is empty. * A poor 
man speaks supplications,' Prov. xviii. 23. 

164. It is not so easy a matter to pray as men think, and that in regard 
of the unspiritualness of our nature^compared with the duty itself, which is 
to draw near to a holy God. We cannot endure to sever ourselves from 
our lusts. There is also a great rebellion in our hearts against anything 



that is good. Satan also is a special enemy; for when we go to God by 
prayer, be knows we go to fetch help and strength against him, and there- 
fore he opposeth all he can. But though many men do mumble over a 
few prayers, yet indeed no man can pray as he ought, but he that is within 
the covenant of grace. 

165. A child of God may pray and not be heard, because at that time 
he may be a child of anger. If any sin lie unrepented of, we are not in a 
case fit to pray. Will a king regard the petition of a traitor that purposeth 
to go on in his rebeUion ? Therefore, when we come to God, we should 
renew our purposes of better pleasing him, and then remember the Scrip- 
ture, and search all the promises as part of our best riches ; and when we 
have them, we should challenge God with his promise, and this will make 
us strong and faithful in our prayers, when we know we never pray to him 
in vain. 

166. When we pray, God oftentimes refuseth to give us comfort, because 
we are not in good terms with him ; therefore we should still look back to 
our life past. Perhaps God sees thee running to this or that sin, and 
before he will hear thee, thou must renew thy repentance for that sin : for 
our nature is such, that it will knock at every door, and seek every corner 
before we will come to God ; as the woman in the Gospel, she sold all before 
she came to Christ, Mat. ix. 20, seq. So that God will not hear before we 
forsake all helps, and all false dependence upon the creature ; and then he 
gets the greatest glory, and we have the greatest sweetness to our souls. 
That water that comes from the fountain is the sweetest ; and so divine 
comforts are the sweetest, when we see nothing in the creature, and he is 
the best discerner of the fittest time when to give us comfort. 

167. When God means to bestow any blessing on his church or children, 
he will pour upon them the Spirit of prayer ; and as all pray for every one, 
so every one prays for all. This is a great comfort to weak Christians ; 
when they cannot pray, the prayers of others shall prevail for them. 

168. A fool's eye is in every corner, and fools' attiictions are scattered. 
The only object of the soul is that 'one thing needful,' Luke x. 42, and 
this will fill all the corners of it. When a man hath sucked out the pleasure 
of worldly contentments, they are then but dead things ; but grace is ever 
fresh, and always yields fresh and full satisfaction. 

169. Desires are the spiritual pulse of the soul, always beating to and 
fro, and shewing the temper of it ; they are therefore the characters of a 
Christian, and shew more truly what he is than his actions do. 

170. In the ark there was manna, which was a type of our sacraments ; 
and the Testament, which was a type of the word preached ; and the rod 
of Aaron was a type of government. Wheresoever, therefore, there is 
spiritual manna, and the word preached, and the rod of Aaron in the go- 
vernment, there is a true church, though there be many personal corruptions. 

171. The bitterest things in religion are sweet. There is a sweetness 
in reproofs ; when God meets with our corruptions, and whispers to us 
that those and those things are dangerous, and that if we cherish them, 
they will bring us to hell. The word of God is sweet to a Christian, that 
hath his heart touched. Is not pardon sweet to a condemned man, and 
riches sweet to a poor man, and favour sweet to a man in disgrace, and 
liberty sweet to a man in captivity ? So all that comes from God is sweet 
to a Christian, that hath his heart touched with the sense of sin. 

172. It is not happiness to see, but sight with enjoyment, and interest. 
There are but two powers of the soul, understanding and will. When both 


these have their perfection, that is happiness : when the understanding 
sees, and the will draws the affections. So there are these things concur 
to make up our everlasting happiness, the excellency of the thing, with the 
sight of it, and interest in it. 

173. We see hy experience that there is a succession of love. He that 
loves for beauty will despise when he sees a better ; so it is in the soul, 
between heavenly and earthly things : when the soul sees more excellency, 
and more fruitfulness in heavenly things, then the love of earthly things 
falls down in his heart, as Saint Paul saith, Philip, iii. 7, ' I account all 
things dross and dung in comparison of Christ.' 

174. In prayer we tempt God, if we ask that which we labour not for. 
Our endeavour must second our devotion ; for to ask maintenance, and not 
put our hands to the work, it is as to knock at the door, and yet pull the 
door unto us that it open not. In this case, if we pray for grace and 
neglect the spring from whence it comes, how can it speed ? It was a rule 
in the ancient time, 'Lay thy hand on the plough and then pray' (r). No 
man should pray without ploughing, nor plough without praying. 

175. Wisdom is gotten by experience in variety of estates. He that is 
carried on in one condition, he hath no wisdom to judge of another's estate, 
or how to carry himself to a Christian in another condition ; because he 
was never abased himself, he looks very big at him. And therefore, that 
we may carry ourselves as Christians, meekly, lovingly, and tenderly to 
others, God will have us go to heaven in variety, not in one uniform con- 
dition, in regard of outward things. 

170. There is no condition but a Christian picks good matter out of it, 
as a good artsman sometimes will make a good piece of work of an ill piece 
of matter, to shew his skill. A gracious man is not dejected over-much 
with abasement, nor lifted up over-much with abundance, but he carries 
himself in an uniform manner, becoming a Christian, in all conditions ; 
whereas those that have not been brought up in Christ's school, nor trained 
up in variety of conditions, they learn to do nothing. If they abound, 
they are proud ; if they be cast down, they murmur and fret, and are 
dejected, as if there were no providence to rule the world. 

177. There is a venom and a vanity in everything, without grace, where- 
with we are tainted ; but when grace comes, it takes out the sting of all 
ill, and then it finds a good in the worst. 

178. Christianity is a busy trade. If we look up to God, what a world 
of things are required in a Christian, to carry himself as he should do : a 
spirit of faith, a spirit of love, a spirit of joy and delight in him above all. 
And if we look to men, there are duties for a Christian to his superiors, a 
spirit of subjection ; to equals he must carry a spirit of love ; and to in- 
feriors a spirit of pity and bounty. If we look to Satan, we have a com- 
mandment to resist him, and to watch against the tempter. If we look to 
the world, it is full of snares. There must be a great deal of spiritual 
watchfulness, that we be not surprised. If we look to ourselves, there are 
required many duties to carry our vessels in honour, and to walk within 
the compass of the Holy Ghost ; to preserve the peace of our consciences ; 
to walk answerable to our worth, as being the sons of God and coheirs with 
Christ. He must dispense with himself in no sin ; he must be a vessel 
prepared for every good work ; he must baulk in no service that God calls 
him unto : and therefore the life of a Christian is a busy trade. 

179. Sincerity is the perfection of Christians. Let not Satan therefore 
abuse us. We do all things, when we endeavour to do all things, and 


purpose to do all things, and are grieved when we cannot do better, thau* 
in some measure we do all things. 

180. A Christian is able to do great matters, but it is in Christ that 
strengthens him. The understanding is ours, the affections are ours, the 
will IS ours ; but the sanctifying of these, and the carrying of these super- 
naturally, to do them spiritually, that is not ours, but it is Christ's. 

181. We have not only the life of grace from Christ at the first, and 
then a spiritual power answerable to that again, whereby our powers are 
renewed, so as we are able to do something in our will, but we have the deed 
itself : the doing is from Christ, he strengtheneth us for the performance 
of all good. 

182. God preserves his own work by his Spirit : first, he moves us to 
do, and then he preserves us in doing, and arms us against the impediments. 

183.^ Though Christ be a head of influence that flows into every member, 
yet he is a voluntary head, according to his own good pleasure, and the 
exigentsf of his members. Sometimes we have need of more grace, and 
then it flows into us from him accordingly. Sometimes we have need to 
know our own weakness, and then he leaves us to ourselves, that we may 
know that without him we cannot stand ; and we may know the necessity 
of his guidance to heaven in the sense of our imperfections, that we may 
see our weakness and corruptions, that we had thought we had not had in 
us ; as Moses, by God's permission, was tempted to murmur, a meek man, 
and David to cruelty, a mild man, that thought they had not had those 
corruptions in them. 

184. God is forced to mortify sins by afflictions, because we mortify 
them not by the Spirit ; and in the use of holy means God doth us favours 
from his own bowels, but corrections and judgments are always forced. 

185. We may for the most part read the cause of any judgment in the 
judgment itself; as, if the judgment be shame, then the cause was pride ; 
if the judgment be want, then our sin was in abundance : we did not learn 
to abound as we should when we had it. 

186. As we say of those that make bold with their bodies, to use them hardly, 
to rush upon this thing and that thing ; in their youth they may bear it 
out, but it will be owing them after ; they shall find it in their bones when 
they are old : so a man may say of those that are venturous persons, that 
make no conscience of running into sin, these things will be owing to 
them another day ; they shall hear of these in time of sickness, or in^the 
hour of death ; and therefore take heed of sinning upon vain hope, that 
thou shalt wear it out, for one time or other it will stick to thee. 

187. When God visits with sickness, we should think our work is more 
in heaven with God than with men or physic. When David dealt directly 
and plainly with God, and confessed his sins, then God forgave him them, 
and healed his body too, Ps. xxxii. 5. 

188. It were a thousand times better for many persons to be cast on the 
bed of sickness, and to be God's prisoners, than so scandalously and 
unfruitfully to use the health that they have. 

189. It is an art wherein we should labour to be expert, to consider God's 
gracious dealing in the midst of his corrections ; that in the midst of them 
we might have thankful and cheerful, and fruitful hearts, which we shall 
not have, unless we have some matter of thankfulness. Consider, there- 
fore, doth God make me weak, he might have struck me with death ; 

* Qu. ' then ' ?— Ed. f That is, ' exigencies.'— G. 


or, if not talicn away my mortal life, yet he miglit have given me up to a 
spiritual death, to an hard heart, to desperation. 

190. In this latter age of the world, God doth not use the same dispen- 
sation. He doth not always outwardly visit for sin ; for his government 
is now more inward. Therefore w§ should take the more heed, for he 
may give us up to blindness, to deadness, to security, which are the great- 
est judgments that can befall us. 

191. We should labour to judge ourselves for those things that the world 
takes no notice of, for spiritual, for inward things ; as for stirring of pride, 
of worldliness, of revenge, of security, unthankfulness, and such like 
unkindness towards God ; barrenness in good duties, that the world can- 
not see. Let these humble our hearts ; for when we make not conscience 
of spiritual sins, God gives us up to open breaches that stain and blemish 
our profession. 

192. Many men put off the power of grace, and rest in common civil 
things, in outward performances ; but when we regard not the manner, 
God regards not the matter of the things we do ; and therefore oftentimes 
he punishes for the performance of good duties, as we see in 1 Cor. xi. 
30, 31. 

193. Our whole life under the gospel should be nothing but thankfulness 
and fruitfulness. Take heed, therefore, of turning the grace of God to 
wantonness. The state of the gospel requires ' that we should deny all 
ungodliness and worldly lusts, and live righteously and soberly and godly 
in the present world,' &c., Titus ii. 12. Therefore, when we find our- 
selves otherwise, we should think, Oh! this is not the life of a Christian 
under the gospel : the gospel requires a more fruitful, a more zealous car- 
riage, more love to Christ, &c. 

194. If any man be so uncivil, when a man shews him a spot on his 
garment, that he grows choleric, will we not judge him an unreasonable 
man ? And so, when a man shall be told this will hinder your comfort 
another day, if men were not spiritually besotted, would they swell and 
be angi-y against such a man ? Therefore take the benefit of the judgment 
of others among whom we live. This was David's disposition, when he 
was told of the danger, going to kill Nabal and his household. So we 
should bless God, and bless them that labour by their good counsel and 
advice, to hinder us from any sinful course, whatsoever it is. 

195. Those that truss up the loins of their souls, and are careful of 
their ways, they are the only sound Christians. They are the only com- 
fortable Christians, that can think of all conditions and of all estates com- 

196. It is an ill time to get grace when we should use grace ; and there- 
fore that we may have the less to do, when we shall have enough to strug- 
gle with sickness ; and that we may have nothing else to do when we die, 
but to die, and comfortably to yield up our souls to God, let us be exact in 
our accounts every day. 

197. God takes a safe course with his children, that thej^ may not be 
condemned with the world. He makes the world to condemn them, that 
they may not love the world : he makes the world to hate them, that they 
may not love the world, but be crucified to the world. He makes the 
world to be crucified to them. Therefore they meet with crosses, and 
abuses, and wrongs in the world. Because he will not have them perish 
with the world, he sends them afflictions in the world, and by the world. 

198. If God should not meet with us with seasonable correction, we 


should sbame religion, and shame Christ ; and therefore God in mercy 
corrects us with fatherly correction. 

199. In the governing of a Christian life we are carried naturally to 
second causes, whereas they are all but as rods in God's hands. Look, 
therefore, to the hand that smites ; look to God in all. He chastiseth us, 
as David saith in the matter of Shimei, 2 Sam. xvi. 10 ; and as Job saith, 
' It is the Lord that bath given, and the Lord that hath taken away,' Job 
i. 21. 

200. We have oftentimes occasion to bless God more for crosses than 
for comforts. There is a blessing hidden in ,the worst things to God's 
children, as there is a cross in the best things to the wicked. There is a 
blessing in death, a blessing in sickness, a blessing in the hatred of our 
enemies, a blessing in all losses whatsoever ; and therefore in our affections 
we should not only justify God, but glorify and magnify him for his mercy, 
that rather than we should be condemned with the world, he will take 
this course with us. 

201. Though our salvation be sure, and that we shall not be condemned 
with the world, yet the knowledge of this doth not make us secure ; for 
though God doth not damn us with the world, yet he will sharply correct 
us here. And by a careful, sober life we might obtain many blessings, and 
prevent many judgments, and make our pilgrimage more comfortable. 
Therefore it argues neither grace nor wit, that because God will save me, 
therefore I will take liberty. No ; though God will save thee, yet he will 
[take] such a course with thee, thou shalt endure such sharpness for thy 
sin, that it shall be more bitter than the sweetest of it was pleasant. 

202. Gracious persons in times of peace and quiet do often underprize 
themselves, and the graces of God in them, thinking that they want faith, 
patience, and love, who yet, when God calleth them out to the cross, shine 
forth in the eyes of others, in the example of a meek and quiet subjection. 

203. God oftentimes maketh wicked men friends to his children without 
changing their disposition, by putting into their hearts some conceit for the 
time, winch inclineth them to favour, as Nehemiah ii. 8. God put it into 
the king's heart to favour his people ; so Gen. xxxiii. 4, Esau was not 
changed, only God for the time changed his afiections to favour Jacob. 
So God puts into the hearts of many groundedly naught,* to favour the 
best persons. 

201. Usually in what measure we in the times of our peace and liberty 
inordinately let loose our afiections, in that measure are we cast down, or 
more deeply in discomfort. When our adulterous hearts cleave to things more 
than become chaste hearts, it makes the cross more sharp and extreme. 

205. A man indeed is never overcome, let him be never so vexed in the 
world by any, till his conscience be cracked. If his conscience and his 
cause stand upright, he doth conquer, and is more than a conqueror. 

206. Partial obedience is no obedience at all. To single out easy things 
that do not oppose our lusts, which are not against our reputation, therein 
some will do more than they need. But our obedience must be universal 
to all God's commandments, and that because he commands us. 

207. In every evil work that we are tempted uuto we need delivering 
grace, as to every good work assisting grace. 

208. That Christian who is privy to his own soul, of good intentions to 
abstain from all ill, he may presume that God will assist him against all 
ill works for the time to come. 

* That is, ' fundamentally wicked.' — G. 


209. We should watcli and labour daily to continue in pra^-cr, strength- 
eniu'T and backing them with arguments from the word and promises, and 
markin<T how our prayers speed. When we shoot an arrow, we look to 
the fall of it ; when we send a ship to sea, we look for the return of it ; and 
when we sow seed, we look for a harvest ; and so when we sow our prayers 
into God's bosom, shall we not look for an answer, and observe how we 
speed ? It is a seed of atheism to pray, and not to look how we speed. 
But a sincere Christian will pray, and wait, and strengthen his heart with 
promises out of the word, and never leave till God do give him a gracious 

210. Take a Christian, and whatsoever he doth he doth it in fear. If 
he call God Father, it is in fear. He eats and drinks in fear, as St Jude 
speaks of them that eat * without fear,' ver. 12. The true servant of God 
hath fear accompanying him in all his actions, in his speeches and recrea- 
tions, in his meat and drink. But he that hath not this fear, how bold is 
he in wicked courses, and loose in all his carriages! But mark a true 
Christian, and you shall always see in him some expressions of an holy fear. 

211. The relation of servant is of great consequence to put us in mind 
of our duty. If we will be God's servants, we must make it good by 
obedience, we must resolve to come under his government, and be at his 
command, or else he will say to us, as to them in the 10th of Judges, * Go 
to the gods whom you have served,' x. 14. Therefore empty relations are 
nothiufT to purpose. If we profess ourselves God's servants, and [do] not 
shew it by our obedience, it is but an empty title. Therefore let us make 
our relations good, at least in our afiections, that we may be able to say, 
* I desire to fear thy name,' Ps. Ixxxvi. 11. 

212. In reading of the Scriptures, let us compare experiments* with 
rules : Neh. i. 8, 9, ' If you sin, you shall be scattered ; and if you return 
a<^ain, I will be merciful.' We should practise this in our lives, to see how 
God hath made good his threatenings in our corrections, and his promises 
in our comforts. 

213. Those that have had a sweet communion with God, when they have 
lost it, do count every day ten thousand till they have recovered it again ; 
and when Christ leaves his spouse, he forsakes her not altogether, but 
leaves something on the heart that maketh her to long after him. He 
absents himself that he may enlarge the desires of the soul, and after the soul 
hath him again, it will not let him go. He comes for our good, and leaves 
us for our good. We should therefore judge rightly of our estates, and 
not think we are forsaken of God when we are in a desertion. 

214. When men can find no comfort, yet when they set themselves to 
teach weaker Christians by way of reflection, they receive comfort them- ■ 
selves, so doth God reward the conscionablet performance of this duty of 
discourse, that those things we did not so sweetly understand before, by 
discourse we understand them better. This should teach us to be in love 
with holy conference, for besides the good we do to others we are much 
bettered ourselves. 

215. We may use God's creatures, but not scrupulously, nor supcr- 
stitiously, singhng out one creature from another, nor yet may we use them 
as we list. There is a difference between right, and the use of right. 
The magistrate may restrain the use of our right, and so may our weak 
brother in case of scandal. So that all things be ours, yet in the use of 
them we must be sober, not eating nor drinking immoderately, nor using 

* That is, ' experiences.' — G. t Tliat is, ' conscientious.'— G. 


anything uncliaritably, whereby others mcy take offence ; for albeit we 
have a right to God's bounty, yet our right and use must be sanctified by 
the word and prayer. 

216. Many men fall to questioning, Oh that I had assurance of my sal- 
vation ! Oh that I were the child of God ! Why, man, fall to obedience. 
Ay, but I cannot ; for it is the Spirit that enables. But yet come to holy 
exercises, though we have not the Spirit ; for many times in the midst of 
holy exercises God gives the Spirit ; and therefore, attend upon the means 
until we have strength to obey. Wait upon God's ordinances till he stirs 
in thy soul. All that love your souls, attend upon the means, and have a 
care to sanctify the Lord's day : Rev. i. 10, ' John was ravished in the 
Spirit on the Lord's day.' 

217. God takes nothing away from his children, but instead thereof, he 
gives them that which is better. Happy is that self-denial that is made up 
with joy in God. Happy is that poverty that is made up with grace and 
comfort. Therefore let us not fear anything that God shall call us unto in 
this world. It is hard to persuade flesh and blood hereunto ; but those 
that find the experience of this as Christians, do find withal particular com- 
forts flowing from the presence of Christ's Spirit. St Paul would not have 
wanted his whippings to have missed his comforts. 

218. Christ doth chiefly manifest himself unto the Christian soul in 
times of afliiction, because then the soul unites itself most to Christ ; for the 
soul in time of prosperity scatters and loseth itself in the creature, but there 
is an uniting power in afflictions to make the soul gather itself to God. 

219. Christ took upon him our nature, and in that nature suifered 
hunger, and was subject to all infirmities. Therefore, when we are put to 
pains in our callings, to troubles for a good conscience, or to any hardship 
in the world, we must labour for contentment, because we are hardly* made 
conformable unto Christ. 

220. There is not any thing or any condition that befalls a Christian in 
this life but there is a general rule in the Scripture for it, and this rule is 
quickened by example, because it is a practical knowledge. God doth not 
only write his law in naked commandments, but he enlivens these with the 
practice of some one or other of his servants. Who can read David's 
Psalms but he shall read himself in them ? Ho cannot be in any trouble 
but David is in the same, &c. 

221. As children in the womb have eyes and ears, not for that place, 
but for a civil life afterwards among men, where they shall have use of all 
members, even so our life here is not for this world only, but for another. 
We have large capacities, large memories, large aftections, large expecta- 
tions. God doth not give us large capacities and large aftections for this 
world, but for heaven and heavenly things. 

222. Take a Christian that hath studied mortification, you shall see the life 
of Jesus in his sickness, in a great deal of patience and heavenly-mindedness, 
when his condition is above his power, his strength above his condition. 

223. As men do cherish young plants at first, and do fence them about 
with hedges and other things to keep them from hurt, but when they are 
grown, they remove them, and then leave them to the wind and weather, 
so God, he besets his children first with props of inward comforts, but 
afterwards he exposes them to storms and winds, because they are better 
able to bear it. Therefore let no man think himself the better because he 
is free from troubles. It is because God sees him not fit to bear greater. 

* That is, ' with difficulty.'— G. 


224. Wlien we read tbe Scriptures, we should read to take out some- 
thing for ourselves ; as when we read any promise, This is mine ; when we 
read any prerogative. This is mine, it was written for me ; as the apostle 
saith, 'Whatsoever was written aforetime was written for our learning,' &c., 
Rom. XV. 4. 

225. As the Spirit is necessary to work faith at the first, so is it necessary 
also to every act of faith ; for faith cannot act upon occasion but by the 
Spirit; and therefore we should not attempt to do or to suffer anything 
rashly, but beg the Spirit of God, and wait for the assistance, because 
according to the increase of our troubles must our faith be increased ; for 
the Hfe of a Christian is not only to have the Spirit work faith at first, but 
upon all occasions to raise up our former graces. For faith stirs up all 
other graces, and holds every grace to the word; and so long as faith con- 
tinues, we keep all other graces in exercise. 

226. There is no true Christian but hath a public spirit to seek the good 
of others, because as soon as he is a Christian, he labours for self-denial. 
He knows he must give up himself and all to God, so that his spirit is en- 
larged in measure unto God and to the church ; and therefore the greater por- 
tion a man hath of the Spirit of Christ, the more he seeks the good of others. 

227. If we would have hearts to praise God, we must labour to see every- 
thing we receive from God to be of grace, and abundance of grace answer- 
able to the degrees of good. "Whatsoever we have more than nature is 
abundant grace. Whatsoever we have as Christians, though poor and 
distressed in our passage to heaven, is abundant grace. 

228. There are three main parts of our salvation : first, a true knowledge 
of our misery ; and secondly, the knowledge of our deliverance ; and then, 
to live a life answerable. The Holy Ghost can only work these. He only 
convinceth of sin ; and where he truly convinceth of sin, there also of 
righteousness, and then of judgments. 

229. That we may be convinced of sin, the Spirit must work a clear and 
commanding demonstration of our condition in nature. It takes away 
therefore all cavils, turnings, and windings ; even as when we see the sun 
shine we know it is day. The Spirit not only convinceth in generals that 
we are all sinners, but in particulsirs, and that sti-ongly, ' thou art the 
man.' This convincing i^ also universal, of sins of nature, of sins of life, 
sins of the understanding, of the will, and of the affections ; of the misery 
of sin, of the danger of sin, of the folly and madness of sin, of sins against 
so many motives, so many favours. Proud nature arms itself with deftness,* 
strong translations, t strong mitigations. It is necessary therefore that the 
Holy Ghost should join with men's consciences to make them confess, * I 
am the man.' 

230. The convincing of the Spirit may be known from common convic- 
tion of conscience by this, that natural conviction is weak like a little spark, 
and convinceth only of breaches of the second table, and not of evangelical 
sins. Again, common conviction is against a man's will : it makes him 
not the better man, only he is tortured and tormented. But a man that is 
convinced by the Spirit, he joins with the Spirit against himself; he 
accuseth himself; he takes God's part against himself. He is willing to 
be laid open, that he may find the greater mercy. 

231. It is not enough to know that there is a righteousness of Christ, 
but the Spirit must open the eyes of the soul to see, else we shall have a 

* That is, ' dexterity.'— G. 

t That is, 'transferences.' Cf. Gen. iii. 12, seq.—G. 


natural knowledge of supernatural things. It is necessary to have a super- 
natural sight to see supernatural things, so as to change the soul ; and 
therefore the Spirit only works faith to see Christ is mine. Further, only 
the Spirit can work the conscience to be quiet, because he is gi-eater than 
the conscience, and can answer all inward objections and cavils of flesh and 
blood. Unless, therefore, the Holy Ghost apply what Christ hath done, 
the conscience will not be satisfied. 

232. The best men in the estate of grace would be in darkness, and call 
their state into question, if the Holy Ghost did not convince them, and 
answer all cavils for them ; and therefore we must not only be convinced at 
the first by the Spirit, but in our continued course of Christianity. This, 
therefore, should make us to come to God's ordinances with holy devotion. 
Lord, vouchsafe the Spirit of revelation, and take the scales from mine 
eyes, that as these are truths, so they may be truths to me ! Do thou 
sway my soul, that I may cast myself upon thy mercy in Christ! 

233. Spiritual convincing is not total in this life, but always leaves in 
the heart some dregs of doubting, though the soul be safe for the main. 
As a ship that rides at anchor is tossed and troubled, but the anchor holds 
it, so it is with the soul that is convinced weakly : it is sure of the main, 
yet it is tossed with many doubts and fears, but the anchor is in heaven. 

234. The Spirit of God doth so far convince every Christian of the 
righteousness of Christ, as preserves in him such a power of grace, as to 
cast himself upon the mercy of God. God will send his Spirit so far into 
the heart, as it shall not betray itself to despair. He will let such a beam 
into the soul, as all the powers of hell shall not quench. 

235. When we neglect prayer, and set upon duties in our own strength, 
and in confidence of our own parts ; if we belong to God we shall be sure 
to miscarry, though another man perhaps may prosper ; and therefore we 
should be continually dependent upon God for his direction and for his 
blessing in whatsoever we go about. 

236. As many women, because they will not endure the pain of child- 
birth, do kill their children in the womb , so many men , who will not be troubled 
with holy actions, do stifle holy motions. Therefore, let us take heed of 
murdering the motions of the Holy Spirit, but let us entertain them, that when 
they are kindled, they may turn to resolution, and resolution into practice. 

237. This is a common rule, .that we cannot converse with company 
that are not spiritual, but if they vex us not they will taint ns, unless 
we be put upon them in our callings. We should therefore make special 
choice of our company, and walk in a continual watchfulness. 

238. It is rebellion against God for a man to make away himself. The 
very heathens could say, that we must not go out of our station till we 
be called, (d). It is the voice of Satan, ' Cast thyself down.' But what 
saith St Paul to the jailor ? * Do thyself no harm, for we are all here,' Acts 
xvi. 28. We should so carry ourselves, that we may be content to stay 
here till God hath done that work he hath to do in us and by us ; and then 
he will call us hence in the best time. 

239. He is a valiant man that can command himself to be miserable ; 
and he that cannot command himself to endure some bondage and disgrace 
in the world, it argues weakness. Christ could have come down from the 
cross, but he shewed his strength and power by enduring their reproaches 
and torments. 

240. The reason why many Christians stagger, and are bo full of 
doubts, is because they are idle, and labour not to grow in grace. There- 


fore we should labour to gi'ow iu knowledge and mortification, for in that 
■way we come to assurance. 

241. Whatsoever good is in a natural man, is depraved* by a self-end. 
Self-love rules all his actions. He keeps within himself, and makes for 
himself : he is a god to himself : God is but his idol. This is true of all 
natural men in the world. They make themselves their last end ; and 
where the end is depraved, the whole course is corrupted. 

242. The sense of assured hope cannot bo maintained without a great 
deal of pains, diligence, and watchfulness : 2 Pet. i. 10, ' Give all diligence 
to make your calhng and election sure,' insinuating that it will not be had 
without it. It is the diligent and watchful Christian that hath this assu- 
rance ; otherwise the Holy Ghost will sutler us to bo in a damp,t and under 
a cloud, if we stir not up the graces of the Spirit. It is grace in the exer- 
cise, and love in the exercise, that is an earnest, and so faith and hope in 
the exercise is an earnest. If grace be asleep, you may have grace, and 
not know it. Therefore we should labour to put our graces into exercise. 

243. Those that have assurance of their salvation have oftentimes trouble- 
some distractions, because they do not always stand upon their guard. 
Sometimes they are lifted up to heaven, and sometimes cast down even to 
hell ; yet always in the worst condition there is something left in the soul, 
that suggests to it that it is not utterly cast off. 

244. He to whom this pilgrimage is over- sweet, loves not his country ; 
yet the pleasures of this life are so suitable to our nature, that we should 
sit by them, but that God follows us with several crosses. Therefore let 
us take in good part any cross, because it is out of heavenly love that we 
are exercised, lest we should surfeit upon things here below. 

245. In melancholy distempers, especially when there goes guilt of spirit 
with it, we can see nothing but darkness in wife, children, friends, estate, 
&c. Here is a pitiful darkness, when body, and soul, and conscience, and 
all are distempered, Now let a Christian see God in his nature and pro- 
mises, and though hecannot live by sight in such a distemper, yet let him 
then live by faith. 

246. Though God do personate an enemy, yet faith sees a fatherly 
nature in him. It apprehends some beams of comfort. Though there be 
no sense and feeling, yet the Spirit works a power in the heart, whereby 
the soul is able to clasp with God, and to allege his word and nature 
against himself. 

247. The reason why the world seeth not the happy condition of God's 
children is, because their bodies are subject to the same infirmities with 
the worst of men ; nor are they exempted from troubles. They are also 
subject to fall into gross sins, and therefore worldly men think. Are these 
the men that are happier than we ? They see their crosses, but not their 
crowns ; they see their infirmities, but not their graces ; they see their 
miseries, but not their inward joy and peace of conscience. 

248. To walk by faith is to be active in our walking, not to do as we 
list, but it is a stirring by rule. Since the fall, we have lost our hold of 
God, and we must be brought again to God by the same way we fell from 
him. We fell by infidelity, and we must be brought again by faith, and 
lead our lives upon such grounds as faith affords. We must walk by faith, 
looking upon God's promise, and God's call, and God's commandments, and 
not live by opinion, example, and reason. 

249. In the exercise of our callings, when we think we shall do no good, 

* That is, ' vitiated.'— G. t Q^- ' ^ump ' ?— G. 


but all things seem contrary, yet faith saith, God hatli set me here ; I will 
cast in my net at thy commandment, Luke v. 5. Let us look upon God, 
and see what he commands, and then cast ourselves upon him. 

250. A Christian hath sense and experience of God's love, together with 
his faith. It is not a naked faith without any relish, but that sense and 
experience we have here is given to strengthen faith for time to come ; and 
therefore when we have any sweet feelings, we must not rest in them, but 
remember they are given to encourage us in our way, and to look for ful- 
ness in another world. 

251. There is a double act of faith : first, the direct act, whereby I cast 
mj'self upon Christ, and there is a reflect act, whereby I know that I am 
in an estate of grace by the fruits of the Spirit. It is by the first act that 
we are saved. Feelings are oftentimes divided from the first act ; for God 
may enable a man to cast himself upon Christ, and yet for some ends he 
shall not know it, because he will humble him. God gives the reflect act, 
which is assured hope, as a reward of exact walking, but we must trust to 
that closing act of faith as to that which saveth us. We ought to live by 
this direct act of faith till we come to heaven, but add this, that there is no 
man walks by faith that wants comfort. 

252. God oftentimes defers to help his children until they be in ex- 
tremity, till they be at their wits' end, because he will have them live by 
faith and not by sight ; as good Jehoshaphat, ' We know not what to do, 
but our eyes are towards thee,' 2 Chron. xx. 12. So St Paul received the 
sentence of death in himself, that he might trust in the living God, 2 Cor. 
i. 9. This is the cause of divine desertions, why God leaves his children 
in desperate plunges, seeming to be an enemy to them, because he will 
have us live by faith ; and when we live by it, then he rewards us. 

253. Howsoever things are in sight, yet we should give God the honour 
to trust to his promises. Though his dealings towards us seem to be as 
to reprobates, yet let us believe his word. He cannot deny it. Say, 
' Lord, remember thy promise to thy servant, wherein thou hast caused me to 
trust,' Ps. cxix. 49. Therefore wrestle with God, for thereby he doth convey 
secret strength to his children, that they may be able to overcome him. 

254. The reason why many men at the hour of death are full of fears 
and doubtings, and their hearts are full of misgivings, is, because in their 
lifetime they have not been exercised in living by faith. 

255. Confidence doth then arise from faith, when troubles make it the 
stronger. Therefore it is a true evidence, when confidence increaseth with 
opposition, great troubles breeding great confidence. Again, it is a sign a 
man's confidence is well bred, when a man can carry himself equal in all 
conditions, when he hath learned to want and to abound. He needs a 
strong brain that drinks much strong water. Now when a man hath an 
even spirit, to be content in all conditions, it argues a well-grounded 

256. None can be truly confident but God's children. Other men's 
confidence is like a madman's strength. He may have the strength of 
two or three for a time, but it is a false strength ; and it is when they are 
lifted up upon the wings of ambition and favour of men, but these men in 
the time of trial sink: 'The hope of the hypocrite shall perish,' Prov. xi. 7. 

257. Wicked men depart out of this world like malefactors that are 
unwilling to go out of prison. But God's children, when they die, they 
die in obedience : ' Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace, according 
to thy word,' Luke ii. 29. To be in the body is a good condition, because 



we live by fixith ; but it is better to be with the Lord, because then we shall 
live by sight. 

258. Au ambitious man is an unilerminer of others, and if any stand in 
his way, he will make way through blood, he will tread upon his friends to 
get to honour, so a soul that is graciously ambitious considers what stands 
in his way. He hates father and mother, nay, his own life ; he pulls out 
his right eye, he cuts off his right hand, he offers violence to everything 
that stands betwixt him and his God. 

259. We should study the Scriptures, that we may find what is accept- 
able to God and Christ. Now that which most pleaseth God is holiness. 
So doth grace and mercy. Therefore we should study to be holy, and 
gracious, and merciful. ' This is the will of God,' saith the apostle, 'even 
j'our sanctificatiou, that is, to be holy as God is holy,' 1 Thes. iv. 3. Those 
that will be acceptable to God must be good in private, in their closet, be- 
cause sincerity supposeth that God sees all. They must be humbled for the 
rising of sin, because these things are seen of Christ with grief and hatred. 

260. If in our recreations or other lawful things we be so religious as we 
should, we will then have Christ in our eye, and see how this may further 
me in his service, or how this may hinder me ; for the most glorious 
actions of religion are no service . at all if not done in faith, and with 
respect to Christ. 

261. Let no man be discouraged in the doing of good actions, though 
otherwise thej' may be bad men, having no interest in Christ ; for so far as 
any outward action is outwardly good it shall be rewarded. The Scribes 
and Pharisees had the promise of men for their reward. The Eomans 
were straight* in their civil government, and God so blessed them for it, 
that their commonwealth flourished for many hundred years. Let the 
people be what they will, if civil, f they shall have their reward suitable to 
that good they do. As for heaven and happiness in another world, they 
care not for it ; yet every man shall have his ' penny,' Mat. xx. 13. 

262. It is a great art in faith to apprehend Christ suitable to our pre- 
sent condition ; as when we are fallen into sin, think of the terrors of the 
law, but when we are broken-hearted, then present him as a sweet Saviour, 
inviting all to come unto him ; and thus neither shall Christ be dishonoured 
nor our souls wronged. 

263. It is much to be desired that there were that love in all men to 
teach what they know, and that humility in others to bo instructed in what 
they know not. God humbles great persons to learn of meaner ; and it is 
our duty to embrace the truth whosoever brings it ; and oftentimes mean 
persons are instruments of comfort to greater than themselves ; as Aquila 
and Priscilla instructed Apollos, Acts xviii. 26. 

264.* He that seeks us before w^e sought him, will he refuse us when we 
seek after him ? Let no man therefore despair or be discouraged. If there 
be in thee the height and depth, and length and breadth of sin, there is 
ajso much more the height and depth, and length and breaiUh of mercy in 
God. And though we have played the harlot with many lovers, yet return 
again : Jer. iii. 1, * For his thoughts are not as ours,' and his mercies are 
the mercies of a reconciled God. 

• 265. When we are under a cloud of temptations, let us take heed of 
opposing our comforts ; for it wrongs Christ's intention, who would not 
have us at any time to be uncomfortable ; and besides, whilst we are in 
such a condition, we are unfit to glorify God, for fear doth bind up the 

* That is, 'exact,' 'strict.' — G. t That is, 'moral,' or 'equitable.' — G. 



Boul, and makes it in a palsy temper. "We are not fit to do anything as we 
ought without some love and some joy; and though we be at present under 
a cloud, yet the sun is always the same. We may therefore for a time 
want the light of his gracious countenance, but never his sweet influence. 

266. Most men if they could they would always live here, but whosoever 
is partaker of Christ's resurrection, his mind doth presently ascend ; and 
here we are always enlarging our desires, because we are under a state of 

267. Many men thnt make a profession are like kites, which ascend 
high, but look low. But those that look high as they ascend high are 
l-isen with Christ. For a Christian being once in the estate oi grace, he 
forgets what is behind, and looks upon ascending higher and higher, till he 
be in his place of happiness ; and as at Christ's rising there was an earth- 
quake, so such as are risen with him do find a commotion and division 
between the flesh and the spirit. 

268. Christ hath an especial care of his children, when by reason of the 
guilt of sin they have most cause to be disconsolate ; and therefore, where 
the heart of any man is upright towards God, it is not to be expressed what 
indulgence there is in him towards such a poor sinner; for though Peter 
had denied him, yet in Mark xvi. 7, ' Go tell his disciples, and tell Peter,' 
so that Christ took great care to secure him of his love, though he had 
most shamefully denied him. 

269. God hath not in vain taken upon him the name of a Father, and 
he fills it up to the full. It is a name of indulgence, a name of hope, a 
name of provision, a name of protection. It argues the mitigation of 
punishment. A little is enough from a father. Therefore in all tempta- 
tions it should teach us by prayer to fly under the wings of our heavenly 
Father, and to expect from him all that a father should do for his child, as 
provision, protection, indulgence, yea, and seasonable corrections also, 
which are as necessary for us as our daily bread ; and when we die we may 
expect our inheritance, because he is our Father. But yet we must under- 
stand also, that the name of Father is a word of relation. Something also 
he expects from us. We must therefore reverence him as a Father, which 
consists in fear and love. He is a great God, and therefore we ought to 
fear him ; he is also merciful, yea, hath bowels of mercy, and therefore we 
ought to love him. If we tremble at him, we know not that he is loving, 
and if we be over bold, we forget that he is a great God. Therefore we 
should go boldly to him with reverence and godly fear. 

270. Those that are at peace in their own consciences will be peaceable 
towards others. A busy, contentious, querulous disposition argues it never 
felt peace from God ; and though many men think it commendable to censure 
the infirmities of others, yet it argues their own weakness. For it is a sign 
of strength, where we see in men any good, to bear with their weaknesses. 
Who was more indulgent than Christ ? He bore with the infirmities of his 
disciples from time to time. Therefore we should labour to carry ourselves 
lovingly towards them that are weak, and know that nothing should raise 
us so high in our esteem above others, so as to forget them to be brethren, 
inasmuch as those infirmities we see in them shall be buried with them. 

271. Many men will make much of eminent persons, and men of excellent 
parts, but there may be a great deal of hypocrisy in that, and therefore the 
truth of our love is" tried in this, if we bear a sincere affection to all the 
saints, Eph. vi. 18. 

272. We must take heed of coming to God in our own persons or 



worthiness, but in all things look at God in Christ. If we look at God 
as a Father, we must see him Christ's Father first. If we see ourselves 
acquitted from our sins, let us look at Christ risen first. If we think of 
glorification in heaven, let us see Christ glorified first, and when we con- 
sider of any sijiritual blessing, consider of it in Christ first. All the promises 
are made to Christ. He takes them first from God the Father, and derives* 
them to us by his Spirit. The first fulness is in God, and then he empties 
himself into Christ. ' And of his fulness we all receive grace,' &c. 

273. God is said to be our God, or to be a God unto us, whenas he 
applies for the good of his creature, that all-sufficiency that is in himself. 
God is our God by covenant, because he hath made over himself unto us. 
Every believing Christian hath the title passed over to him, so that God 
is his portion, and his inheritance. There is more comfort in this, that 
God is our God, than the heart of man can conceive. It is larger than his 
heart, and therefore though we cannot sa}', that riches, or honours, or 
friends, &c., are ours, yet if we be able to say by the Spirit of faith that 
God is ours, then we have all in him. His wisdom is ours to find out a 
way to do us good. If we be in danger, his power is ours to bring us out ; 
if under the guilt of sin, his mercy is ours to forgive us ; if any want, his 
all-sufliciency is ours to supply, or to make it good. If God be ours, then 
whatsoever God can do is ours, and whatsoever God hath is ours. 

274. God is the God and Father of all the elect, and he is also a God 
and a Father unto every one of the elect. God is every saint's soUdum. 
Even as the sun is wholly every man's, so is God. He cares for all as one, 
and for every one as if he had but one. 

275. There is not only a mystery, but a depth in the mystery ; as of 
election and reprobation, so of providence. There is no reason can be given 
why some of God's children are in quiet and others are vexed, why one should 
be poor and another rich. In Ps. xcvii. 2, ' clouds and darkness are round 
about him.' You cannot see him, he is hid in a cloud'; ay, but righteous- 
ness and judgment are the foundation of his throne. Howsoever he wrap 
himself in a thick cloud, that none can see him, yet he is just and righteous. 
Therefore when anything befalls us, for which we can see no reason, yet we 
must reverence him and adore his counsels, and think him wiser than we. 

276. When we ai'e diligent in our calling, keeping a good conscience and 
labouring for a carriage answerable ; when these three meet together, 
calling, and standing, and wise carriage : then whatsoever befalls us, we may 
with comfort say, ' The will of the Lord be done.' We are now in his way, and 
may then expect a guard of angels without, and a guard of his Spirit within. 

277. All the contentions between the flesh and the spirit lies in this, 
whether God shall have his will or we ours. Now God's wall is straight, 
but ours is crooked, and therefore if God will have us ofi'er up our Isaac 
we must submit to him, and even drown ourselves in the will of God, and 
then the more we are emptied of ourselves, the freer we are by how much 
we are made subject to God. For in what measure we part with anything for 
him, we shall receive even in this world an hundredfold in joy and peace, &c. 

278. Whatsoever outward good things we have, we should use them in a 
reverent manner, knowing that the liberty we have to enjoy them is pur- 
chased with the blood of Christ, as David, when he thirsted for the waters 
of Bethlehem, would not drink it, because it was the blood of his three 
worthies, 2 Sam. xxiii. 15, scq. So though we have a free use of the creatures, 
yet we must be careful to use them with moderation and reverence. 

* That is, ' communicates.' — G. 



279. There is nothing of God can please the world, because the best 
things are presented to the heart of a carnal man as foohshness. Man's 
nature above all things would avoid the imputation of folly, and rather than 
he will be counted a fool he will slander the ways of God to be* foolishness. 
Now the law of Christ constrains us, and makes us do many things for which 
the world doth think us out of our wits, and therefore we should labour to 
quit our hearts, and account of it a greater favour from God, when the 
Michals of this world scoff at us for our goodness, 2 Sam. vi. 22 ; for 
when they are offended at us God is delighted with us. 

280. To discern of our estate in grace, let us chiefly look to our affec- 
tions, for they are intrinsecal, and not subject to hypocrisy. Men of great 
parts know much, and so doth the devil, but he wants love. In fire all 
things may be painted but the heat. So all good actions may be done by 
an hypocrite, but there is a heat of love which he hath not._ We should 
therefore chiefly examine the truth and sincerity of our afiections. 

281. We may apprehend the love of God, but we cannot comprehend 
it. All the fruits of his love passes our common understanding, and there- 
fore we have the Holy Spirit given to us to take away the veil, and to 
make report of it to the soul ; and then as soon as this love of Christ is 
apprehended, it constrains us to all holy duties, not as fire out of flint, 
but as water out of a spring. The love of a wife to her husband may begin 
from the supply of her necessities, but afterwards she may love him also 
for the sweetness of his person. So the soul doth first love Christ for 
salvation, but when she is brought to him, and finds that sweetness that is 
in him, then she loves him for himself. 

282. It should be our continual care to manifest the sincerity of our 
hearts to God in our several places and caUings, and this is done when we 
look at God in every action, and endeavour to yield our whole soul to the 
whole will of God, serving him in our spirits, and performing the works of 
our callings by his Spirit, according to his word, and unto his glory ; and 
if we thus labour to approve ourselves to him, whatsoever be the issue, we 
shall be endued with a holy boldness, with inward peace aiid comfort, 
having carried ourselves as in the sight of God. 

283. That a man may be fit to persuade others he must have love to 
their persons, a clear knowledge of the cause, and grace, that he may be 
able to speak in wisdom to their souls and consciences. As we are saved 
by love, so we are persuaded by the arguments of love, which is most 
agreeable to the nature of man, that is led by persuasion, not by compul- 
sion. Men may be compelled to the use of the means, but not to faith. Many 
men labour only to unfold the Scriptures, for the increasing of their know- 
ledge, that they may be able to discourse, whereas the special intent of the 
ministry is to work upon the heart and afiections. 

284. As we must approve ourselves to God and to our own consciences, 
so also to the consciences of others, — not to their humours and lancies,- — 
that they may witness for us, that we love them and deal faithfully with 
them. AVe should labour to do all the good we can, especially to the souls of 
men that are redeemed with the blood of Christ. If we deserve well of them, 
they will give evidence for us ; but if we walk scandalously, they will evidence 
that we by our ill courses and examples drew them to ill courses, and har- 
dened them in evil. It should be our care therefore to approve ourselves 
to the consciences of men, that we may have them to witness for us, that 
such men of whom we have deserved well may be our crown at the last day. 

* That is, = as foolishness. — G. 



285. A man doth tlien keep a good conscience in relation to others, when 
he makes it appear that he can deny himself to do them good ; when the 
consciences of other men shall think thus, Such a man regards my good 
more than his own ; he seeks no advantage to himself ; he lives so as that 
the world may see he is in good earnest ; he speaks so as that he makes 
it good hy his life. Now if our care he to walk thus, we shall approve our- 
selves to the consciences of men. 

286. There are many that will give some way to divine truths, but they 
have a reservation of some sin. When Herodias is once touched, then 
John Baptist's head must off. Mat. xiv, 0. Such truths as come near makes 
them fret, because their conscience tells them they cannot yield obedience 
to all. The lust of some sins hath gotten such domination over their affec- 
tions, that the conscience saith, I cannot do this ; and then that hatred that 
should be turned upon the sin, is turned upon the word and the minister. 
Like unto some vermin, that when they are driven to a stand, they will fly 
in a man's face, so these men, when they see they must yield, they grow 
malicious, so that what the}' will not follow, that they will reproach ; there- 
fore it should be our care at all times to yield obedience, according to what 
we know. 

287. There is a generation of churlish people, such as watch for offences, 
because they would go to hell with some reason. They will not see who 
are weak, and who are hypocrites, but they cast reproach upon all ; and 
therefore oftentimes God in justice to them suffers good men to fall, that 
such men may take ' scandal ' at them to their ruin. 

288. A man may know that the word hath wrought upon his conscience, 
when he comes to it, that he may hear and learn and reform. A man that 
hath a heart without guile, is glad to hear the sharpest reproofs, because 
he knows that sin is his greatest enemy ; but if we live in a course that we 
are loath should be touched, it is a sign our hearts are full of guile. 
Corrupt men they mould their teachers, and fashion them to their lusts ; 
but a good and upright heart is willing that divine truths should have their 
full authority in tlie soul, giving way to our duty, though never so contrary 
to flesh and blood. 

289. It is the duty of ministers to labour to prevent objections that may 
arise in the hearts of the people, so as to hinder the passage of their doc- 
trine ; and that truths may more readily come into the heart, we should 
labour to relish the person, for secret surmises are stones to stumble at ; 
therefore both ministers and people should be careful to remove them. 

290. A man ought not to commend himself, but in some special cases : 
first, because pride and envy in others will not endure it ; secondly, it 
toucheth upon God's glory, and therefore we should take heed ; thirdly, it 
deprives us of comfort, and hinders the apology* of others. The heathens 
could say, that the praising of a man's self is a burdensome hearing (c) ; 
let us take heed, therefore, that we snatch not our right out of God's hand. 
But now, on the contrary in some cases, we may praise and commend our- 
selves, as when we have a just calling to make an apology in way of defence, 
and for the conviction of them that unjustly speak evil of us ; secondly, we 
may speak well of ourselves in way of example to others, as parents to 
their children ; and this doth well become them, because it is not out of pride 
or vain glory, because the end is discovered to be out of love unto them. 

291. It is the duty of those that are God's children, when they have just 
occasion, to take the defence of others upon them : and thus did the blind 

* That is, ' defence.'— G, 



man, John ix, 30 ; lie defended Christ againsif the Pharisees ; and Jonathan 
spoke to his father in the behalf of David, 2 Sam. xx. 30. Though he was 
the son of a rebellious woman, yet he knew that he ought* this unto the 
truth. God hath a cause in the world that must be owned, and therefore 
when the cause of religion is brought upon the stage, then God seems to 
say as Jehu did, • Who is on my side, who ?' 2 Kings ix. 32. God com- 
mends his cause and his children to us ; and therefore ' Curse ye Meroz, 
saith the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof, 
because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord 
against the mighty,' Judges v. 23. So a curse Hes upon those that, when 
the truth sufiers, have not a word to defend it. 

292. Usually the defamers of others are proud, vainglorious persons. 
If a man will search for the spirit of the devil in men, lot him look for it 
amongst vainglorious teachers, heretics, and superstitious persons. ^ The 
ground of it is from the nearness of two contraries. There the opposition is 
the strongest, as fire and water when they are near make the strongest 
opposition ; and who are so near God's children as vainglorious teachers 
that are of the same profession ? Pilate, a heathen, shewed more favour 
to Christ than the Pharisees. And this use we should make of it, not to 
take scandal when we see one divine depravef another, for it hath been so, 
and will be so to the end of the world. 

293. All things out of God are but grass. When we joy in anything 
out of God, it is a childish joy, as if we joyed in flowers, that after we have 
drawn out the sweetness, we cast them away. All outward things are 
common to castaways as well as to us ; and without grace they will prove 
snares ; at the hour of death what comfort can we have in them, further 
than we have had humility and love to use them well. Therefore if we 
would have our hearts seasoned with true joy, let us labour to be faithful 
in our places, and endeavour according to the gifts we have to glorify God. 

294. To glory in anything whatsoever, is idolatry, because the mind sets 
up a thing to glory in, which is not God ; secondly, it is spiritual adultery 
to cleave to anything more than God ; thirdly, it is false-witness-bearing 
to ascribe excellency where there is none. We have a prohibition, ' Let 
not the wise man glory in his wisdom, nor the strong man in his strength, 
nor the rich man in his riches,' Jer. ix. 23. God will not give his glory 
to another ; and therefore when men will be meddling vvith glory, which 
belongs to God alone, he blasts them, and sets them aside, as broken 
vessels, and disdains to use them. 

295. A Christian joys aright, when it proceeds from right principles, 
from judgment and conscience, not from fancy and imagination ; when 
judgment and conscienoe will bear him out ; when there is good terms 
between God and him : for our joy must spring from peace : Rom. v. 1, 
' Being justified by faith, we have peace towards God.' The apostles begin 
their Epistles with mercy, grace, and peace : mercy in forgiveness ; grace 
to renew our natures ; and peace of conscience here. These are thmgs to 
be gloried in. If we find our sins pardoned, our persons accepted, and 
our natures altered, then we may comfort ourselves in anything, in health, 
in wealth, in wife, in children," in anything, because all come from the 
favour of God. We may joy in afflictions, because there is a blessing in 
the worst things, to further our eternal happiness ; and though we cannot 
joy in affliction itself, as being a contrary to our nature, yet we may joy in 
the issue. So that we may joy aright, when having interest in God, we 

* That is, ' owed.'— G. t That is, ' undervalue.'— G. 



glory in the tostimon\' of a gflod conscience ; when looking inward we find 
all at peace ; when we can say upon good grounds, that God is mine, and 
therefore all is mine, both life and death and all things, so far as they may 
serve for good. 

296. The hearts of men, yea, of good men, are apt to be taken up with 
outward things : when the weak disciples had cast out devils, they were 
ready to be proud ; but Christ quickly spies it, and admonisheth them, 
' not to rejoice that the devils were subject to them, but that their names 
were written in the book of life,' Luke x. 20. Therefore, when we find 
the least stirrings to glory in anything, we must check ourselves, and con- 
sider what grace we have to temper them ; what love we have to turn 
these things to the common good ; for whatsoever a man hath, if he have 
not withal humility and love to use it aright, it will turn to his bane. 

297. It hath been an old imputation to lay distractedness upon men of 
the greatest wisdom and sobriety. John the Baptist was accused to have 
a devil, and Christ to be besides* himself, and the apostles to be full of 
new wine, and Paul to be mad ; and the reason of this is, because as 
religion is a mystical and spiritual thing, so the tenets of it seem paradoxes 
to carnal men : as, first, that a Christian is the only freeman, and other 
men are slaves ; that he is the onl}' rich man, though never so mean in the 
world ; that he is the only beautiful man, though outwardly never so 
deformed ; that he is the only happy man in the midst of all his miseries. 
Now these things, though never so true in themselves, seem strange to 
natural men. And then again, when they see men earnest against sin, or 
making conscience of sin, they wonder at this commotion for trifles, as if we 
made tragedies of toys.f But these men go on in a course of their own, 
and make that the measure of all : those that are below them are profane, 
and those that are above them are indiscreet ; by fancies and affections, 
they create excellencies, and then cry down spiritual things as folly ; they 
have principles of their own, to love themselves, and to love others only 
for themselves, and to hold on the strongest side, and by no means to 
expose a man's self to danger. But now when men begin to be religious, 
they deny all their own aims, and that makes their course seem madness 
to the world, and thei'efore they labour to breed an ill conceit of them, 
as if they were madmen and fools. 

298. God's children are neither madmen nor fools, as they are accounted. 
It is but a scandal cast upon them by the madmen of the world. They are 
the only wise men, if it be well considered ; for, first, they make the highest 
end their aim, which is to be a child of God here, and a saint hereafter in 
heaven. Secondly, they aim to be found wise men at their death, and 
therefore are always making their accounts ready. Thirdly, they labour to 
live answerable to their rules. They observe the rule of the word, to be 
governed according to the same. Fourthly, they improve all advantages 
to advance their end ; they labour to grow better by blessings and crosses, 
and to make a sanctified use of everything. Fifthly, they swim against 
the stream of the times, and though they eat, and drink, and sleep as others 
do, yet, like the stars, they have a secret course and carriage of their own, 
which the world cannot discern ; and therefore a man must be changed, 
and set in a higher rank, before he can have a sanctified judgment of the 
ways of God. 

299. Those that lay the imputation of folly and madness on God's chil- 
dren will be found to be fools and madmen themselves. Is not he a fool 

■"^ That is, ' beside.'— G. t That is, ' trifles.'— G. 


that cannot make a right choice of things ? and how do carnal men make 
their choice, when they embrace perishing things for the best? Secondly, 
a carnal man hath not parts to apprehend spiritual things aright. He can- 
not see things invisible. Thirdly, in his heart he accounts it a vain thing 
to serve the Lord. Fourthly, he judges his enemies to be his best friends, 
and his best friends to be his worst enemies. Fifthly, the principles of all 
his actions are rotten, because they are not directed to the right object ; 
therefore all his affections are mad, as his joy, his love, his dehght. His 
love is but lust, his anger vexation ; for his confidence he calls God's love 
into question ; but if a false suggestion comes from the devil, that he em- 
braces, and therefore is he not now a madman ? And this is the condition 
of all natural men in the world. 

300. True freedom is when the heart is enlarged, and made subordinate 
to God in Christ. A man is then in a sweet frame of soul when his heart 
is made subject to God ; for he, being larger than the soul, sets it at liberty. 
God will have us make his glory our aim, that he may bestow himself 
upon us. 

301. When the love of Christ is manifested to me, and my love again to 
Christ is wrought by the Spirit, this causes an admiration to the soul, 
when it considers what wonderful love is in Christ ; and the Spirit shall 
witness that this love of Christ is set upon me ; from hence it begins to 
admire,* ' Lord, wherefore wilt thou shew thyself to us, and not to the 
-world ? ' John xiv. 22. What is the reason thou lovest me, and not others ? 
When the soul hath been with God in the mount, and when it is turned 
from earthly things, then it sees nothing but love and mercy, and this con- 
strains us to do all things out of love to God and men. 

802. AVhen Joshua cursed the man that should build the walls of Jericho, 
he was not in commotion and fury, but in a peaceable temper, Joshua vi. 
26. So that, when cursing comes from such a one, he is a declaratory 
instrument, and the conveyer of God's curse. Therefore every man must 
not take upon him to curse, for men oftentimes curse where they should 
bless, which is an arrow shot upright, that falls down upon his own head ; 
but those that come in the name of the Lord, and are qualified for that 
purpose, their cursings or blessings are to be esteemed, for they are a 
means oftentimes to convey God's blessings or his cursings upon us. 

308. It is over-curious to exact the first beginnings of grace, because it 
falls by degrees, like the dew, undiscernibly ; and further, there is a great 
deal of wisdom as well as power in the working of grace. God offers no 
violence to the soul, but works sweetly yet strongly, and strongly yet 
sweetly. He goes so far with our nature, that we shall freely delight in grace. 
So that now he sees great reason why he should alter his course, God doth 
not overthrow nature. The stream is but changed, the man is the same, 

304. When the soul desires the forgiveness of sin, and not grace to lead 
a new life, that desire is hypocritical ; for a true Christian desires power 
against sin as well as pardon for it. If we have not sanctifying grace, we 
have not pardoning grace. Christ came as well by water to regenerate as 
by blood to justify. It should therefore be our continual care and endea- 
vour to grow and increase in grace, because without it we shall never come 
to heaven. Without this endeavour our sacrifices are not accepted ; with- 
out this we cannot withstand our enemies, or bear any cross ; without it we 
cannot go on comfortably in our course ; without this we cannot do any- 
thing acceptable and pleasing to God. 

* That is, ' wonder.' — G. 


305. God will bo ' as the dew unto Israel, and he shall grow as the lily, 
and cast forth his roots as Lebanon,' Hos. xiv. 5. These are not words 
wastefuUy spent ; for we have great need of such promises, especially in a 
distressed state, for then our spirits are apt to sink and our hearts to faint, 
and therefore we have need to have the same comforts often repeated. 
Profane hearts think, what need all this ? but if ever thou beest touched in 
conscieuce for thy sins, thou wilt then be far from finding fault, when 
God useth all the secrets in the book of nature, and translates them, to 
assure us of his mercy and love. 

306. God's children are strengthened by their falls. They learn to stand 
by their falls. Like tall cedars, the more they are blown, the deeper they 
are rooted. That which men think is the overthrow of God's children, 
doth but root them deeper ; so that, after all outward storms and inward 
declinings, this is the issue, ' They take root downward, and bring forth 
fruit upwards.' 

307. A Christian in his right temper is compared to the best of every- 
thing. If to a lily, the fairest ; if to a cedar, the tallest ; if to an olive- 
tree, the most fruitful : ' And his smell shall be as Lebanon.' We should 
therefore make use of all natural things, and apply them to spiritual. If 
we see a lily, think of God's promise and our duty; we shall grow as lilies. 
When we see a tall tree, think, I must grow higher in grace ; and when we 
see a vine, think, I must grow in fruitfulness. When we go into our 
orchards or gardens, let the sight of these things raise our thoughts higher 
unto a consideration of what is required of us. 

308. As it is the glory of the olive-tree to be fruitful, so it is the glory 
of a Christian to be fruitful in his place and calling; and the way to be 
fruitful, is to esteem fruitfulness a glory. It is a gracious sight to see a 
Christian answer his profession, and flourish in his own standing; to be 
fruitful, and shine in good works. When ability, and opportunity, and a 
heart answerable to all, meet for doing good, this is glorious. 

309. When we go about any action or business, let us always ask our 
souls this question, Is this suitable to my calHng, to my hopes ? But if 
not. Why do I do it ? I that am a king to rule over my lusts, doth this 
a^ree with my condition ? This base act, this base company, shall such 
a man as I do this ? When a man brings his heart to reason thus with 
himself, it will breed Ephraim's resolution, ' What have I any more to do 
with idols ? ' And in walking thus circumspectly, we shall find a heat of 
comfort accompanying every good action; and a sweet relish upon the 
conscience, with humility and thankfulness, acknowledging all the strength 
we have to be from the dew of his grace. 

310. In times of calamity, God will have a care of his fruitful trees; as 
in chap. xx. of Deut., ver. 19, the Israelites were commanded that they 
should not destroy the trees that bare fruit. So though Gofl's judgments 
come amono-st us, yet God will have a special care of his children that be 
fruitful, but°the judgments of God will light heavy upon barren trees. _ And 
howsoever God may endure barrenness in the want of means, yet he will not 
in the use of means. It were better for a bramble to be in the wilderness 
than in an orchard ; nothing will bear us out but fruitfulness. 

311. It may be observed that old men seem not to grow, nor to be so 
zealous as many young Christians ; but the reason is, because there is in 
young Christians a greater strength of natural parts, and that shews itself, 
and makes a great expression. But aged men they grow in strength and 
Btableness, and are more refined. Their knowledge is more clear, their 


actions more pure, their zeal more refiued, and not mingled with wild-fire ; 
and therefore, though old Christians be not carried with a full stream, yet 
they are more stable and judicious, more heavenly-minded, more mortified. 
They grow in humility, out of a clearer sight of their own corruptions. 

212. In true conversion the soul is changed to be of the same mind with 
Christ, that as he is aflected, so the soul of such a one is afiected; and as 
he loathes all ill, so upon this ground there must be a loathing of whatso- 
ever is evil. But a carnal man is like a wolf driven from the sheep, that 
yet retains his wolfish nature ; so these men that are driven from their 
sins only out of terror of conscience, they are affrighted with sin, but they 
do not hate it; therefore a loathing of evil is required as well as the leaviu'^ 
of it. 

813. If we would make it evident that our conversion is sound, we must 
loathe and hate sin from the heart. Now, a man shall know his hatred of 
evil to be true, first, if it be universal ; he that hates sin truly hates all 
sin. Secondly, where there is true hatred it is unappeasable ; there is no 
appeasing of it but by abolishing the thing it hates. Thirdly, hatred is a 
more rooted affection than anger ; auger may be appeased, but hatred is 
against the whole kind. Fourthly, if our hatred be true, it hates all ill in 
ourselves first, and then in others ; he that hates a toad, hates it most in 
his own bosom. Many, like Judah, are severe in censuring of others, but 
are partial to themselves. Fifthly, he that hates sin truly, hates the 
greatest sin in the greatest measure; he hates it in a just proportion. 
Sixthly, our hatred is right if we can endure admonition and reproof for 
sin, and not be in rage with him that tells us of it ; therefore those that 
swell against reproof hate not sin ; only with this caution, it may be done 
with such indiscretion and self-love, that a man may hate the proud 
manner. Therefore in discovering our hatred of sin in others, we must 
consider our calling. It must be done in a sweet temper, with reservincf 
due respect of those to whom we shew our dislike, that it may be done out 
of true zeal, and not out of wild-fire. 

314. All love and associations that are not begun on good terms, will 
end in hatred. We should take heed whom we join in league and amity 
withal. Before we plant our affections, consider the persons what they 
are. If we see any signs of grace, then it is good ; but if not, there will 
be a rent. Throughout our whole life this ought to be our rule. We 
should labour in ail companies either to do good or receive good ; and 
where we can neither do nor receive good, we should take heed of such 
acquaintance. Let men therefore consider and take heed how they stand 
in combination with wicked persons. 

315. ' Whosoever will live godly in Christ Jesus, must suffer persecu- 
tion,' 2 Tim. iii. 12. He must have his nature changed, and carry his 
hatred against all opposite courses ; and therefore to frame a religion that 
hath no trouble with it, is to frame an idol. But neuters in religion are 
like unto bats, that men can scarce distinguish from mice, or flyino fov.'l, 
because they have a resemblance of both. Take heed therefore of 
neutrality in religion. After the first heat many become lukewarm, and 
from that they fall into coldness ; let us therefore look to our beginnings. 
Pure affection in religion must also be zealous. 

316. Wise men will do nothing without great ends; and the more wise 
the greater are their ends. Shall we attribute this to men, and not to the 
wisdom of God ? Christ would never have appeared in our nature, and 
suffered death, but for some great end. Shall we think that this mystery 


of God taking flesh upon him, was for a sHght purpose ? Now, the end 
of his coming was to save sinners, 1 Tim. i. 15; he came to bring us to 
God, 1 Peter iii. 18; but he that will save us must first bring us out of 
Satan's bondage, therefore Christ came to destroy the works of the devil, 
1 John iii. 8. It must needs follow therefore that the salvation of our 
souls is of great consequence, seeing for this only end Christ took our 
nature upon him and suffered for us. 

317. Christ came to destroy the works of the devil in us, but yet he 
makes us kings under him, to fight his battles; and as by his Spirit in 
us he destroys the works of the devil, so he doth it in the exercise of all 
the powers and parts of soul and body, and by exercising the graces of his 
Spirit in us. * He hath made us kings and priests,' not that we should do 
nothing, but that we should fight, and in fighting overcome. The chiefest 
grace that God doth exercise in overcoming our corruptions is faith. We 
fell by infidelity and disobedience. Now, Christ comes and displants 
infidelity, and instead thereof he plants f\iith, which unites us to him; and 
then by a divine skill, it draws a particular strength from Christ, to fight 
his battles against corruption. 

318. Temptations at first are like Elias's cloud, no bigger than a man's 
hand ; but if we give way to them, they overspread the whole soul. Satan 
nestles himself when we dwell upon the thoughts of sin. We cannot with- 
stand sudden risings, but by grace we may keep them that they do not 
abide there long. Let us therefore labour as much as we can to be in 
good company and good courses ; for as the Holy Ghost works by these 
advantages, so we should wisely observe them. 

319. It is hard to discern the working of Satan from our own corrup- 
tions, because for the most part he goes secretly along with them. He is 
like a pirate at sea ; he sets upon us with our own colours ; he comes as a 
friend; and therefore it is hard to discern, but it is partly seen by the 
eagerness of our lusts, when they are sudden, strong, and strange, so 
strange sometimes, that even nature itself abhors them. The Spirit of 
God leads sweetly, but the devil hurries a man hke a tempest, that he will 
hear no reason ; as we see in Amnion, for his sister Tamar. Again, when 
we shake ofl' motions of God's Spirit, and mislike his government, and 
give way to passion, then the devil enters. Let a man be unadvisedly 
angry, and the devil will make him envious and seek revenge. When 
passions are let loose, they are chariots in which the devil rides. Some 
by nature are prone to distrust, and some to be too confident. Now, the 
devil he joins with them, and so draws them on further. He broods upon 
our corruptions; ho lies as it were upon the souls of men, and there broods 
and hatches all sin whatsoever. All the devils in hell cannot force us to 
sin. He works by suggestions, stirring up humours and fancies ; but he 
cannot work upon the will. We betray ourselves by yielding before he can 
do us any harm, yet he ripens sin. 

320. There are some sins that let Satan loose upon us ; as, first, pride ; 
we see it in Paul, 2 Cor. xii. 7. Secondly, conceitedness and presump- 
tion ; as we may see in Peter, Mat. xxvi. 33. Thirdly, security; which is 
always the forerunner of some great punishment or great sin, which also is 
a punishment, as we see in David. Fourthly, idleness ; it is the hour of 
temptation, when a man is out of God's business. Fifthly, intemperance, 
either in looseness of diet or otherwise ; therefore Christ commands us to 
be ' sober, and watch,' and look to sobriety in the use of the creatures. 
Sixthly, there is a more subtile intemperance of passion, for in what degree 


we give way to wrath, and revenge, and covetousness, in that degree 
Satan hath advantage against us. Seventhly, when a man will not believe 
and submit to truths revealed, though but a natural truth ; therefore God 
gave them up to vile affections, Rom. i. 2G, because they would not 
cherish the light of nature, much more when we do not cherish the light 
of grace. 

321. As Christ wrought our salvation in an estate of baseness, so in our 
way to glory we must be conformable to our Head, and pass through an 
estate of baseness. We are chosen to a portion of afflictions, as well as to 
grace and glory. God sees it needful also, because we cannot easily digest 
a flourishing condition. We are naturally given to affect* outward excel- 
lencies. When we are trusted with great matters, we are apt to forget 
God and our duty to others. This should therefore teach us to justify God 
when we are any ways abased in the world. 

322. There are a world of poor, who yet are exceeding proud; but God 
sanctifies outward poverty unto his children, so as it makes way for poverty 
of spirit ; that as they are poor, so they have a mean esteem of themselves. 
It makes them inwardly more humble and more tractable. Therefore when 
we are under any cross, observe how it works ; see whether we join with 
God or no. When he afflicts us outwardly, whether inwardly we be more 
humble ; when he humbles us and makes us poor, whether we be also poor 
in spirit ; when God goes about to take us down, we should labour to take 
down ourselves. 

323. Poverty of spirit should accompany us all our life long, to let us 
see that we have no righteousness of our own to sanctification ; that all 
the grace we have is out of ourselves, even for the performance of every 
holy duty. For though we have grace, yet we cannot bring that grace 
into act without new grace ; even as there is a fitness in trees to bear fruit, 
but without the influence of heaven they cannot. That which oftentimes 
makes us miscarry in the actions of our calling, is because we think we 
have strength and wisdom enough ; and then what is begun in self- 
confidence, is ended in shame. We set upon duties in our own pride and 
strength of parts, and find success accordingly. Therefore it is a sign that 
God will bless our endeavours, when out of the sense of our own weakness 
we water our business with prayer and tears. 

324. It is not sufficient for a Christian to have habitual grace. There 
is no vine can bring forth fruit without the influence of heaven, though 
it be rooted ; so we cannot bring forth fruit unless God blow upon us. 
Our former strength will not serve when a new temptation comes. It is 
not enough to have grace, but we must use it. We must exercise our 
faith, love, patience, humility; and for this purpose God hath furnished 
us with the Spirit of all grace. Let us therefore remember, when we have 
any duty to do, to pray unto Christ to blow upon us with his Spirit. 

325. God doth not so much look at our infirmities as at our upright- 
ness and sincerity; and therefore when we are out of temptations, we 
should consider and examine what God hath wrought in us. And then 
though there be infirmities and failings, yet if our hearts be upright, God 
will pardon them ; as we find that David and others were accounted upright, 
and yet had many imperfections. 

326. Watching is an exercising of all the graces of the soul, and these 
are given to keep our souls awake. We have enemies about us that are 
not asleep, and our worst enemy is within us; and so much the worse, 

* That is, ' love,' choose. — G. 



because so near. Wo live also in a world full of temptations, and wicked 
men are full of malice. We are passing tlirongli our enemy's country, 
and therefore liad need to have our wits about us. The devil also is at 
one end of every good action, and therefore we had need to keep all our 
graces in perpetual exercise. We should watch in fear of jealousy, 
taking heed of a spirit of drowsiness ; labouring also to keep ourselves un- 
spotted of the world. 

327. It may be asked, how we shall know the Scripture to be the word 
of God ? For answer, do but grant, first, that there is a God, it will follow 
then that he must be worshipped and sensed ; and that this service must 
be discovered to us, that we may know what he doth require; and then 
let it be compared what the word of God can come near to be the same 
with this. Besides, God hath blessed the superstition of the Jews, who 
were very strict this way, to preserve it for us; and the heretics, since the 
primitive church, have so observed one another, that there can be no other 
to this word. But now we must further know, that we must have some- 
thing in our souls suitable to the truths contained in it, before we can truly 
and savingly believe it to be the word of God, as that we find it to have a 
power in working upon our hearts and aflections: Luke xxiv. 32, 'Did 
not our heai'ts burn within us, when he opened to us the scriptures ? ' 
Again, it hath a divine operation to warm and pacify the soul, and a power 
to make a Felix tremble. It hath a searching quality, to divide between 
the marrow and the bone. We do not therefore only believe the Scrip- 
tures to be the word of God because any man saith so, or because the 
church saith so; but also and principally because I find it by experience 
working the same effects in me that it speaks of itself. And therefore let 
US never rest, till, when we hear a promise, we may have something in us 
by the sanctifying Spirit that may be suitable to it; and so assuring of us 
that it is that word alone that informs us of the good pleasure of God to 
us, and our duty to him. 

328. There is in God a fatherly anger. After conversion he retains 
that ; and this fatherly anger is also turned away when in sincerity we 
humble ourselves. There is one saith well, ' A child of anger, and a child 
under anger' (f). God's children are not children of wrath, but some- 
times they are under wrath, — when they do not carry themselves as sons, 
when they venture on sins against conscience, &c. But if they humble 
themselves and reform, and fly to God for mercy, then they come into 
favour again, and recover the right of sons. 

329. We may know that God loves us, when by his Spirit he speaks 
friendly to our souls, and we by prayer speak friendly to him again ; when 
we have communion and familiarity with him. Whom God loves, to them 
he discovers his secrets, even such secrets as the soul never knew before. 
He reveals them to us when our hearts are wrought to an ingenuous con- 
fession of sin, and when we have no comfort but from heaven. Even as a 
father discovers his bowels most to his child when it is sick, so God 
reserves the discovery of his love, especially until such a time when we 
renounce all carnal confidence. Therefore if we can assure our souls that 
God loves us, let us then be at a point for anything that shall happen to 
us in this world, whether it be disgrace or contempt, or whatsoever, because 
we may fetch patience and contentedness from hence, that God's love sup- 
plies all wants whatsoever. 

330. After a gracious pardon for sin, there are two things remaining in 
us, infirmities and weaknesses. Infirmities are corruptions stirred up, 


wliich hinders us from good, and puts us forward to evil. But yet they 
are so far resisted and subdued, that they break not forth into action. 
Weakness is when we suffer an infirmity to break out for want of watch- 
fulness; as if a man be subject to passion, when this is working disturbance 
in the mind, it is infirmity ; but when, for want of watchfulness, it breaks 
forth into action, then it is weakness. Aftd these diseases are suffered in 
us, to put us in mind of the bitter root of sin ; for if we should not some- 
times break forth into sin, we should think that our nature were cured. 
Who would have thought that Moses, so meek a man, could have so broken 
out into passion ? We see it also in David, and Peter, and others ; and 
this is to shew that the corruption of nature in them was not fully healed. 
But there is this difference between the slips and falls of God's children 
and of other men. When other men fall, it settles them in their dregs ; 
but when God's children fall, they see their weaknesses, they see the bitter 
root of sin, and hate it the more, and ai'e never at quiet till it be cast out 
by the strength of grace and repentance. Therefore let no man be too 
much cast down by his infirmities, so long as they are resisted, for from 
hence comes a fresh hatred of corruption ; and God looks not upon any sin 
but sin ungrieved for, unresisted ; otherwise God hath a holy end in suffer- 
ing sin to be in us, to keep us from worse things. 

331. There is none that out of sincerity do give themselves to holy con- 
ference but are gainers by it. Many men ask questions, and are inquisitive 
to know, but not that they might put in practice. This is but a proud 
desire to taste of the tree of knowledge ; but the desire of true-affected 
Christians is to know that they might seek Christ. We gain oftentimes 
by discourse with those that are punies in religion. St Paul desires to 
meet with the Romans, though they were his converts, that he might be 
strengthened by their mutual faith, Rom. i. 12. 

332. When once the Spirit doth fasten the wrath of God upon the con- 
science of one whom he means to save, then there follows these afflicting 
affections of grief and shame ; and from hence comes a dislike and hate of 
sin ; hence begins a divorce between the soul and the beloved sin ; so that 
whereas there was before a sceptre of sin in the soul, now God begins to 
dispossess that strong man, and then follows a strong desire to be better, 
and a holy desperation, that if God in Christ be not merciful, then the soul 
saith. What shall become of me ! and as the Spirit lets in some terrors, so 
he lets in also some hopes, as, ' What shall I do to be saved ?' implying 
a resignation of the will to take any course, so he may be saved; and then 
all the world for one drop of mercy. 

833. Christ never comes into any heart but where he is valued and 
esteemed ; yet he delights not to hide himself from his poor creature. But 
when we are fit, when we truly judge ourselves unworthy of any favour, 
then he receives us. Here is comfort, therefore, for the worst of men ; if 
they will come in, and submit to God's ordinances, they will be effectual 
to subdue our corruptions ; and when once God hath taken up the heart of 
man for his temple, he will then bring into it all his treasures. There will 
be a mutual fellowship between God and the soul when we are once subdued. 

334. God is so powerful an agent that he can overthrow all. He can 
overthrow the carnal principles of reason, which every natural man hath in 
the fort of his soul. He presents to men the condition they are in by 
nature, and lets in a taste of his vengeance. When God in his ordinances 
shews greater reasons for goodness than Satan can in his carnal courses, 
then all falls down. Those, therefore, that are not fully subdued, yet let 


them come to the ordinances, for then they are within God's reach. When 
the word of God discovers the baseness, vileness, and danger of sin, then 
the soul stoops. Therefore let none despair ; for though thy heart be stone, 
yet God can work powerfully. Nothing is difficult to infirmities ; but it is 
a divine work to pull down a wicked sinner. 

335. However we take pains in our callings, yet the ability and blessing 
comes from God. We pray for daily bread, and yet he gives it, though we 
labom- for it. There is a gift of success, which, unless it be given us from 
above, we shall, with the disciples, * catch nothing,' Luke v. 5. 

336. Gifts are for gi-ace, and grace for glory. Gifts are peculiar to some 
men, but grace is common to all Christians. Gifts are peculiar to many, 
and common to such as are not good. Gifts are joined with great sins, 
but grace hath love and humility to take down the soul. The devil hath 
lost little of his acnteness, but yet he remains mischievous. So many men 
have great parts, but they have also a devilish spirit. Grace comes from 
more special love, and yet men had rather be accounted devils than fools. 
Account them men of parts, and then count them what you will. 

337. It is a hard matter to find out the least measure of grace and the 
greatest degree of formality ; for as painting oftentimes exceeds the thing, 
so doth an hypocrite oftentimes make a greater show ; but the least mea- 
sure of saving grace is from desires. And these are known to be saving, 
if they proceed from a taste of the thing, and not merely from the object ; 
and therefore we must distinguish between aff'ections stirred up and the 
inward frame; for those that are suddenly stirred up do presently return. 
The waters in the bath* have a natural hotness, but water, when it is heated, 
will return to its former coldness. 

338. Though we be sure of victory over our spiritual enemies, yet we 
must fight. The conquered kings must be fought withal. Chx'ist, that 
fights for us, fights with us and in us, and crowns us when all is done. 
And the time will come, ere long, when we shall say of our enemies as 
Moses said of the Egyptians, ' Those enemies that we now see, we shall 
see them no more for ever,' Exod. xiv. 13 ; 'Be strong therefore in the 
Lord, and in the power of his might,' Eph. vi. 10. 

* That is, ' hot-spring.' — G. 



(a) P. 197. — ' St Augustine hath an excellent discourse,' &c. A reminiscence 
rather than quotation of a frequent illustration from this Father. Cf. any Index of 
his works sub vocihus. 

(6) P. 201.—' As a man that is called,' &c. See note a, Vol. V. p. 408. 

(c) P. 204, — 'It was a rule in the ancient time, "Lay thy hand,"' &c. As 
already noticed, this 'rule' is embodied in the sentiment ' Speed the plough.' 

{d) P. 211. — ' The very heathens could say, tliat we must not go out of our station 
till we be called.' A commonplace of Cicero and others of the ancients who have 
written striking things against suicide. 

(e) P. 218. — ' The heathens couM say, that the praising of a man's self is a 
burdensome hearing.' This idea is found in Demosthene^ great speech ' De Corona.' 
[Reiske ed., p. 226, line 20 ; Bekker, § 4.] 

(/) P. 226. — ' There is one saith well, " A child of anger, and a child under 
anger." ' Bernard and Augustine furnish the thought, and the distinction is common 
to all the Fathers. G. 




'The Knot of Prayer Loosed' forms No. 16 of 'The Saint's Cordials' of 1629. 
It was not inserted in the after-editions. Its separate title is given belo-w.* 


In One Sermon. 

Wherein is shewed, 

The Conditions, Limitations, Qualities, Companions, and 

Attendants of Prayer ; The Causes of the DifBculties therein : How to 

pray as we may be heard, nourishing and quick- 

ning our Faith, &c. 

Prselucendo Pereo. 

Vpeightnes Hath Boldnes. 

Iames. 1. 5. 
If any of you lacke wisedome, let him aslce of God, ivho giveth to all men liberally, and 
upbraideth not, and it shall he given him. 


Printed in the yeare 1629. 


Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall dnd ; knock, and it\shaU 
he opened unto yon: for every one that asketh, receiveth ; and he that seek- 
eth, findeth ; and to him that knocketh, it shall he opened. Or what man 
is there of you, icho, if his son ask hread, will give him a stone ? or if 
he ask a fish, will give him a serpent ? If ye then, heing evil, know hoiv 
to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shcdl your Father which 
is in heaven give good things to them that ask them? — Mat. VII. 7-10. 

I HOPE it will not be offensive to any here present, — it may be profitable 
to some, — briefly to repeat what I have spoken in another place of this 
text.* The whole contains an exhortation to prayer, Christ's exhortation 
to Christ's hearers. The parts are two. 

1. The exhortation strictly taken, pointing out the duty. 

2. The motives and arguments enforcing the same. In brief. 
The nail and the hammer. 

The duty is laid down in these words, 'ask,' 'seek,' 'knock;' all of 
them whetting on our dulness ; by which we may see, the pressing of these 
things in this manner imports diligence, that we should set on the same 
eagerly, yea, with an earnest desire of obtaining our suit, as we do with 
those we have occasion to speak wnth, whom by all means we importune 
for a despatch. Our Lord here would have us so to make haste, using all 
means and diligence for obtaining of our suit. 

The motives are, 

1. Ordinate, directly urging the duty. 

2. Subordinate, standing as helps and supporters thereunto. 

The motives ordinate are these : ' Ask, and receive ;' ' seek, and find ; 
knock, and it shall be opened unto you.' The argument is taken from a 
threefold promise, according to the threefold urging of the duty. In sum, 
the success they should have, that they shall speed. 

The subordinate arguments follow the former, and they are of two sorts, 
simple or by comparison. The simple in these words, ' For every one that 
asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it 
shall be opened.' And this simple argument is drawn, as it were, from 
the common experience of others, as if our Lord should have said, Since it 
is found by sure and certain experience, that every one that asketh 
* The previous Sermons have not been preserved. — G. 



receiveth, why should not ye also, if ye ask, think to speed as well as 
others ? 

Lastly, There is set down an argument of comparison, from the lesser 
to the gi-eater, from fathers on earth, endowed with a little of that pity and 
mercy, the greater fountain and ocean whereof is in God ; from which the 
inference is, that if earthly and evil parents will be ready to hear their 
children, and give good things unto them, how much more will our good 
and heavenly Father be ready to hear and grant our requests, that is, give 
good things to such as ask in faith ? This is the sum. 

From the exhortation note, the duty of prayer is a common task, so that 
every Christian, who would be in deed and not in name so called only, he 
must be a man of prayer. Then, in the next place, from the exhortation 
and reason laid together, note the potent means by which we shall be best 
enabled to receive from God what we would ; and what we have need of 
is prayer. There might be, but needs not, many proofs of this, whereof 
there was delivered many uses then ; the last and main whereof was, that 
we should learn to make more reckoning of our prayers than formerly we 
have done, that as we reckon our states in bonds and bills, and that we 
have beyond seas in stock, as well as that we have in possession by us ; 
so we should reckon in our spiritual wealth, not only what we have and 
feel, but also that stock of prayer we have long since adventured to a far 
country, as merchants do of that they have adventured to East India : 
so much the rather, because these may fail in whole or in part, and so 
that stock may perish ; but the adventure and return of this stock of prayer 
is most certain to increase more, which, if we do, we shall be sure of a 
more quick and speedy return. Hence we came to a knotty and great 

Obj. Whether all men in prayer have this assurance to be heard, seeing 
Ckrist's promise is so sure and firm ? 

Aus. There are indeed a great many Christians full of complaints and 
discouragements this way. Oh, say some, I have prayed thus and thus long, 
and am worse and worse ; I have prayed and am not heard ; better leave all, 
seeing I am not the better for it. I answer. Though our Lord do speak 
so confidently, yet God's charter must be interpreted to God's meaning, 
with such conditions and limitations as he hath revealed unto us out of his 
word, which, though not named here, yet must be understood. We are 
undone, every mother's son, if we lose any part of that charter Christ hath 
made, to think we can make no certain return of our prayers sent to our 
heavenly country ; for it remains always sure, ' Ask, and ye shall receive ; 
seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and it shall be opened to you.' For 
the better answering of the objection, here comes two things to be con- 

1. Conditions on our part; 2. Limitations on God's part. 

1. The first thing in the conditions on our part is concerning the party that 
must pray : he must be a free denizen in the state of faith and repentance. 
An outlawed man can put up no petitions with assurance to speed. St John 
saith, ' This is the confidence we have in him, that if we ask any thing 
according to his will, he heareth us,' 1 John v. 14. The will of iaod is, 
that he who prays be a man qualified ; so all the promises of God are 
made, at least to such who hunger and thirst and desire to be in Christ. 
Faithless, godless, careless men are outlawed, as we see, Ps. 1. 15, 16, the 
promise is, ' Call upon me in the day of trouble ; I will deliver thee, and 
thou shalt glorify me ;' and then presently he makes a stop. * But unto 


the wicked God saitb, What hast thou to declare my statutes, or that thou 
shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth ? seeing thou hatest instruction, 
and easiest my word behind thee.' 

_ Obj. Here some may object, that even many heathens have been heard 
m their prayers who were not thus quahfied. 

Ans. To which I answer, It is not out of the privilege of this great 
charter here that such are heard ; but out of his common goodness unto 
all,_ whereby he would draw even the most rebelhous to admiration of his 
divnie abundant mercies, yea, and even teach us, if such prevail thus, 
much more shall we, being within the covenant. 

2. The second is. Our prayers must be made to God alone. 

3. Thirdly, They must pass under the seal of the Mediator. 

For though all Christians may claim a part in the charter, yet the title 
must be pleaded in the Mediator's name only ; no Mediator to thee, no 

_ 4. Fourthly, Concerning the things prayed for, they must be lawful in 
kmd also ; not fore-excepted, nor under any general nor particular hmita- 
tions forbidden. Not everything we desire is rightly asked, some of which 
may cross his nature and will ; some things also are ill for us, by general 
and special decree forbidden, as exemption from afflictions and sufferings 
with him. If God hear us not in this, Christ forfeits not his word, but we 
our prayers. 

5. Fifthly, That we have a right end in prayer ; as James iv. 3, the 
apostle speaks, ' You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that 
you may consume it upon your lusts.' If the end be naught, the prayer 
IS confiscate. 

6. Sixthly, The time ; there be certain seasons and times wherein the 
Lord will be found ; as Dan. ix. 2, when he knew the time of the captivity 
to be near expired, then he prays for the return of the people. If we wait 
and seek in season, we may obtain ; but otherwise we mav have a nap, and 
the door be knocked against our heads. Since then, ' there is a time that 
the Lord will be found,' as the prophet speaks, Isa. Iv. 6, I would not 
have us omit our time, but now when there is a stirring of the Spirit, let 
us take the opportunity, lest we miss it when we shall have most need 
of it. 

7. Seventhly, There is the manner, under which I comprehend the order 
of the things asked and desired. If we would speed in temporal things, 
we must first seek spiritual, saith our Saviour; 'But seek ye first the 
kingdom of heaven, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be 
added unto you,' Mat. vi. 33. If we miss of this, we may knock long ere 
we have entrance. To come to God and seek oil and wine, and the°like 
things, and in the mean time to negiect the oil of grace, what a disorder is 
here. If in this case thou be crossed, it is not because he would put thee 
off without hearing, but because he would teach thee a better way to speed. 
For as when we eat our meat disorderly we want digestion, and for the 
most part buy experience at a dear rate, so many times God doth beat his 
dearest children, and put off their prayers for a long time, that he may 
teach them in due order what is first and principally to be desired ; all 
these the party praying must carefully look unto for speeding in his 

Further, we have to observe in prayer, 

1. The qualities. 2. The companions. 3. The attendants of prayer. 

1. The qualities of prayer. 



(1.) That it be the prayer of faith ; not generally and confu'^cilly of the 
Godhead only, but distinctly of the persons, and of the redemption pur- 
chased, and of the hearing of thy petitions, having interest in him, 'Believe 
and it shall be given thee.' 

(2.) llitmilin/ ; that a man go to God with a knowledge and a sense of 
his own insufficiency to succour himself. No man may come to God, but 
upon his knees. I speak not of the bowing of the knee, but of the heai't ; 
it is written, 'God will hear the desires of the humble,' Ps. ix. 12. In 
misery, affliction, sense of our necessity, and the like, we should assure 
ourselves to be heard. 

(3.) The heat and fervency of prai/er. Our God, which is a 'consuming 
fire,' Heb. xii. 29, doth not endure a cold prayer ; the heart must be 
elevated, as Hannah, her heart spake unto the Lord, 1 Sam. i. 13 ; and 
Saint James saith, * the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth 
much,' James v. 16. By the contrar}', a cold prayer hath but a cold 
answer ; that man is but a mocker of prayer, that would have God to hear 
him, when he hears not himself. 

2. llw companiois of prayer. 

(1.) First, Charity which extends itself toward all men, and a brotherly 
love toward the saints, joined with graciousness in ourselves ; and it hath 
two things in it, giving and forgiving. He that would have mercy, must 
shew mercy ; rich men may do the one, and all men may do the other, 
but the other is harder, to forgive. He that is able to give, and relieve 
others as their need shall require, and yet will not, let him not wonder if 
God deny his suit ; and so he that will not forgive others, let him not look 
to be foi'given. 'Blessed is he,' saith the Scripture, 'that judgeth wisely 
of the poor, the Lord shall deliver him in the day of trouble,' Ps. xli. 1. 
If thou ask, and speed not, in this case marvel not ; thou hast denied him 
in his own members asking of thee, and therefore it is just with him to 
deny thee. 

(2.) The second is, Thanlfulncss for benefits and blessings received and 
enjoyed, with forgiveness of the old debts ; thanksgiving ere we beg more 
mercies. For this cause we speed not in our suits ; because we forget 
him, he forgets us. 

3. The attendants of prayer. 

(1.) First, ]\!rseverance, called ' watching with prayer;' as we see our 
Lord teacheth us by the example of the importunate widow, and the unjust 
judge, thereby intimating for our comfort, how much more certainly, in 
the like case, we may assure ourselves to speed with him, who is the most 
just judge of the world, and goodness itself. So that he that will be sure to 
have this promise, 'Ask and ye shall have, seek and ye shall find,' made 
good unto him, he must make a trade of prayer, not for two or three times, 
and so have done, but he must still ask, and so obtain. As he desires 
constancy in holding out in our suits, so he would have us ask constantly 
without fainting ; and as he will give conveniently in the best time, so he 
shews we shall still be set on work in begging, as his mercy shall be in 

(2.) The second is, diligence in the means ; wo tempt him, to ask for 
that we labour not for. As we pray, so our endeavours must second our 
devotion ; for to ask maintenance, and not put our hands to the work, it 
is as to knock at the door, and yet to pull the door unto us that it open 
not. In this case, if we pray for grace, and neglect the spring from whence 
it comes, how can we then speed ? It was a rule in the ancient time, 'Lay, 


thy hand on the plough, and then pray ;' no man in old time might pray 
without ploughing, nor plough without praying {a). 

(3.) The third is, Expectation, waiting, perseverance in hope, until God 
hear us. The reason is, because the Lord, who hath promised the thing, 
hath not limited the time. In this we may see what patience brings forth, 
as the prophet's experience is, Ps. xl. 1 : ' I waited patiently for the Lord, 
and he inclined to me, and heard my cry;' and in another place he saith, 
'It is good for man both to wait, and trust in the Lord,' ver. 4 ; so, Eey. 
iii. 10, he saith, 'because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will 
also keep thee from the hour of temptation,' &c. This waiting doth interest 
us in him, when we are so earnest that we will not away till we speak with 
him ; as, when a man knows a party he desires to speak with to be in such 
a house, and that he will come forth, he waits at the door, and will not 
away till he speak with him, so, if we were earnest, and had faith and 
assurance that God would come, we would stand still at the door till he 
came, and not be gone and faint upon every light occasion. All of us fail 
in this, that we wait not constantly at the door of grace till we obtain. 
Gross sius indeed, these cause a man to faint, that he dare not look God 
in the face but with much ado ; but if we strive and labour to hold out, God 
accepts of the truth, though the measure be small, when we cannot do as 
we would. But if there be gross failings in this kind, that we fall into the 
old bias of our sins, and so leave knocking, or are quickly weary, we obtain 
not by and by, as though we might limit him the time. If, I say, in this 
case, like the raven sent out of the ark, our prayers return no more, and 
we faint and sink comfortless in desolation, anguish, and sorrow of mind, 
let us not blame our Saviour, whose promise is firm and inviolable without 
change. If we would learn to mend our prayers and wait, we should hear 
more from him. All these are limitations on our part. 

Secondhj, The limitations on God's part. 

In general, we must be wary that our misunderstanding of providence 
make us not to fail : first, all such things are excepted, as God cannot give 
unto our prayers without crossing some part of his revealed will, or a secret 
government and providence of his, which we would not willingly cross, if we 
knew it, but rather submit ourselves unto the same, as Christ did in his 
agony, 'Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt,' Mat. xxvi. 39. I say 
then, God will so give, as may not cross himself in anything. There are some 
things God cannot grant, I speak with reverence, unless he forfeit his word. 
A man prays and says, 'Lord, forgive me my sins,' without a desire to leave 
them, or resolution of a new course of life, but goes on, swears and sins 
again ; God cannot in this case hear such a one, because it is against his 
word to hear sinners, so long as with delight and without remorse they love 
the sin. The prophet saith, ' If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord 
will not hear me,' Ps. Ixvi. 18. Therefore, seeing God cannot lie, repent, 
nor deny himself, such a one cannot be heard. 

Again, an idle man in his calling, though he pray much and often to 
prosper therein, God, if he make his word good, will not grant his suit. 
As he hath said, 'the hand of the diligent maketh rich,' Prov. x. 4, so, on 
the contrary, he hath said in other places, ' that the sluggard shall be clothed 
with rags ; that his soul shall desire, and have nothing ; that because he will 
not plough in the cold, therefore he shall beg in harvest,' Prov. xx. 4, and 
thou, sluggard, dost thou think then to obtain anything without pains- 
taking ? So in another kind the Jews bade Christ to come down from the 
cross, and save himself, if he were the son of God ; when in the mean time 


for the very same thing, because he was the Son of God, and had under- 
taken and promised to finish then the work of our redemption, he might 
not come down from the cross and save himself from that hour. And 
further, when a man blesseth himself in sin, as it is Deut. xxix. 19, saying 
in his heart, that 'he shall have peace, walking in the imagination of his 
heart; adding drunkenness to thirst,' &c., God hath passed his word, that 
he will not spare such a man, but his wrath shall smoke against him, and 
all the curses that are written in the book of God shall lie upon him. 
In this case, continuing and delighting in sin, God cannot hear such a 
prayer, unless he forget his word. Understand thou, man, God could 
never be held by such prayers that cross his will, and the manner of his 
government, yea, such against which he hath so often protested in his 

Secondly, In the things asked, he understands that such should be good 
for us in lawfulness of cii'cumstances, as, 

1. The quality of the same good things. 2. The time. 3. The means. 
4. The manner. 5. The measure. 

I. For the first, [' the quality']. We know the main promise, made to the 
faithful, Kom. viii. 28, is, that ' all things work together for good unto them 
that love God.' Therefore, that which cannot be unto thee for good it is 
not intended, nor ever shall be given, if God do love thee. See also in 
my text, the last part of Christ's last argument is the same in eftect: 'how 
much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them 
that ask them?' The physician knows better than the patient what is 
good for him, so that I say, for this cause many things are profitably denied 
us, which could not conveniently without hurt be granted : as we see fathers 
will keep from their children knives, burning sticks, and all such sharp 
and dangerous things, not because they love them not, but because 
they love them so much, therefore they will keep from them all things 

II. Secondly, For the time. God gives us his bill, but he will pay at 
his pleasure. There is a time, but when, that is concealed ; not that it is 
uncertain unto God, but it is hid from thee, as in Ps. Ixxxvi. 7, ' He will 
hear,' but it is ' in the time of trouble ; ' yea, of great trouble and sorrow; 
betwixt the cup and the lip, as the proverb is. It was Abraham's experi- 
ence : Gen. xxii. 14, ' In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen ; ' all things 
were there ready for a sacrifice, the wood was laid, the fire was ready, 
Isaac was bound, the hand and knife lifted up to kill and cut asunder the 
only son, and son of the promise ; but at an instant came a stop unlooked 
for, which mercy bein» so great, it was then made unto us an instance for 
ever, that even in the most desperate cases we should not despair, but 
hope against hope, as he did. Now, why the Lord thus delays to help and 
hear us, there be divers reasons. 

(1.) First, That our faith and dependence on him might he the better triedy 
which experience, though it be sore, yet we must be courageous, since the 
issue is joyful ; though it bo bitter, yet the victory obtained is great, as we 
may see in the woman of Canaan, a good suitor, having a good suit, yet 
how doth our Lord put her off' a long time, that to others ho might open 
the faith of this woman, and make her unto us a precedent for ever, Mat. 
vii. 6, et seq. 

(2.) Secondly, Sometimes it is done to humhle men, as Judges xx. In a 
good quarrel, having a good cause, we know what befell them. See what 
need we have of prayer to do all things aright. They consult with God 


what to do ; they receive encouragement from him to go on, and yet are 
overthrown; the second time they weep, and mourn, and are beaten again. 
In such a case it seemeth strange to be overcome. Well, the third time 
they weep and fast, are humbled before God for their own sins, ere they 
seek revenge for other men's, then they prevail. Thus ' God resists the 
proud, and gives grace to the humble,' James iv. 6. Till we be nothing 
in our own eyes, he never comes with comfortable deliverance till we come 
to that pinch wherein we cry. Up, ' Lord, how long,' &c., as Paul saith of 
himself, ' We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we might not 
trust in ourselves, but in God which quickeneth the dead,' 2 Cor. i. 9. 
The Lord brought him out of hope of life, that he might be humbled, and 
learn to know where only life, help, and comfort in all extremities is 
to be found. 

(3.) Thirdly, To quicken our appetite. God puts us off the longer ; we 
are unwise and think he doth it to put us off for ever ; in which manner of 
working the Lord in a manner fisheth for us. The fisher, we know, doth 
draw back the hook when he finds the fish is like to bite, that the fish may 
follow. So God gives back from our suits sometimes, not to make us 
give over, but that we may press him so much the more. The experience 
hereof once found is very sweet, though smarting in the beginning, as we 
may see in the spouse : Cant. v. 2, ' She slept, and lost Christ by her 
sluggishness.' She made some idle excuses not to open unto him. Well, 
what came of it? When she would have opened to her best beloved her hands 
dropped myrrh ; all her affection was not gone, for he had left so much 
with her as made her in love with him, but her beloved had withdrawn 
himself. Well, yet more. Li search of him the watchmen ' beat her, 
wounded her, took away her veil.' Here she pays worthily for her sloth ; 
she had all sweet words given her to open unto Christ : ' Open to me, my 
sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled ; ' but putting him off, as I have 
shewed, he departs and leaves her in the pursuit of him. And why goes 
he away ? Partly to chastise her neglect of him, to whom she should have 
gone out, and opened with all cheerfulness and diligence ; and partly it was to 
quicken on her desires, as we see it fell out, ver. 8, wherein she chargeth 
the daughters of Jerusalem, that if they find her beloved, to tell him that 
she was sick of love. 

(4.) Fourthly, He delays and puts off our suits, to enhmxce the price of 
tJwse thiur/s he gives; for what lightly comes, for the most part, as the pro- 
verb is, lightly goes ; but what we come hardly by, that we highly prize, 
and have in estimation, as we see in the chief captain. Acts xxii. 28, when 
Paul had pleaded he was a Eoman, he repHed, ' With a great sum obtained 
I this freedom ;' he bought it at a dear rate, and therefore he valued it 
highly. ^ So if the things of God did not cost us sighs, tears, weepings, 
lamentations, watchings, strivings, earnest longings, and many prayers, we 
would think them easy, to be got at our pleasure, and so despise, con- 
temn, or let them lightly pass as they came. God therefore, to enhance the 
price, doth keep them off till the bell ring, that we may know the rich value 
of these his commodities. All this is for the time. 

III. The third circumstance is, the means and u-ay. Here is all the 
strife. God would have it his way, and we would have it our way. Oh, 
saith Naaman, 2 Kings v. 11, ' Behold, I thought he would surely come 
out to me, and stand, and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and 
strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.' But the Lord will 
not be tied to the means. When we see God, and fit means for effecting 


of sucli and such a tiling, if then we grow secure tlierein, and think this 
is good, this is surely the way, and this will do it, herein we fail, because 
we see that alone, and do uot principally and first of all see and seek unto 
God; and therefore in this case, because of our idolatrous conceit in hfting 
up the means beyond their places, God is forced many times to dash the 
means in pieces, and help us by some other way, of all others least 
expected, as we may see how God ordered the matter in Paul's shipwreck. 
Acts xxvii. 22. God did give unto him his own life, and the lives of all 
that were in the ship with him, but withal the ship must perish. A strange 
manner of deliverance ! How should they then be saved, this being in all 
appearance the only means of safety ? By the wreck of the ship God did 
perform his promise, some by swimming, the rest on boards, and some on 
broken pieces of the ship, all get on land ; and even so, I say, we many 
times escape on boards, and broken pieces of a ship ; I mean those means 
we least thought of, or least trusted unto, because we should not set up 
unto ourselves so many gods before us. Again, we may remember, 
Gen. xxxix., when Joseph was advanced into Potiphar's house, a great man 
and a prince of the state, then he might have thought he was likely now 
to rise, and that the accomplishments of his dreams were in fair way to 
speed ; but this proved not the means. He becometh his enemy, and 
causeth him to be cast in a dungeon. Well, next a butler is made his 
friend by expounding of his dream ; and now Joseph had good hope the 
butler would be a means of his enlargement, and no question he prayed 
also for good success, but God would not bless the same, because he will 
not have our means, and that we rest upon to speed. But at last God's 
means brings him out : Pharaoh dreams, is vexed, the butler then remem- 
bers ; thus came his honour. 

In France, the time was when their persecution was great, and their fears 
many ; then they did trust on the king of Navarre, Oh what great matters he 
would do ; but he failed them at their need. God indeed paid him 
home for disappointing the prayers and hopes of his people. Why did 
God suffer this ? We may imagine this as a main cause, lest they should 
too much exalt the means, and say, the king of Navarre, the king of Navarre, 
the prince of Conde hath done this (h). God did cashier them, and set 
up another means of his praise. Judges vii., Gideon's army Hkewise is 
brought from thirty-tvpo thousand to one thousand, and yet the Lord says 
they are too many, he will save Israel by three hundred only. Why ? 
Lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, * My own hand hath saved 
me.' He knows how ready we are to attribute and sacrifice the fat of the 
ofiering unto man, and set up the means, forgetting him, the author and 
fountain of all the good things we enjoy ; in all which and the like is 
verified, that which Saint Paul speaks, 1 Cor. i. 27, ' God hath chosen 
the foolish things of the world to confound the wise ; and God hath chosen 
the weak things of the world to confound the mighty ; and base things and 
naught, and things that are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things 
which are not, to bring to nought things that are : that no flesh should 
glory in his presence ; but all the praise be of him, and to him.' 

These are the causes why God doth answer our prayers so often by thoso 
means we do not trust unto. If we send in a message at one door, what 
if we go about to another for an answer ; let him appoint the means, and 
thy deliverance shall be so much the more speedy and comfortable. Many 
want comfort long for this cause, that they appoint unto themselves such 
and such means thereof. In afflictions, you shall have some say, Oh if I 


might speak with such aud such a man I should he satisfied, he would ease 
my mind, when in the mean time, with this there is a sinful neglect of 
other men's ministry nearer, whose help we are bound to require. In this 
too much doating on the means, if we profit not, and our prayers remain 
unanswered, in this case, let us blame ourselves, who have prescribed him 
how to do his own work. 

IV. The fourth circumstance is, the limitation of the manner of (jrantinrj. 
We must distinguish of this, 

(1.) First, God unll not he tied to the manner. Sometimes when we ask, 
God doth give just the same we ask for, as 1 Sam. i. 11, Hannah prayed 
for a man-child unto the Lord, and she was heard, obtaining Samuel. If 
not so, yet then the Lord may answer us in value, though not in kind, 
giving us as good as we have desired. This is all one, if one pay us a sum 
in silver, do we ask him why it is not in gold ? Moses, he desired to see 
the land of Canaan, God brought him not in thither, but yet he shews him 
it, Deut. xxxii, from the top of mount Nebo, whence he saw more of it by 
probability than he could have seen in any place of the land. He had his 
desire in value, though not in kind. So 2 Cor. xii. 7, alluding to Judges 
ii. 3, where it is said the Canaanites should be as thorns in their sides. A 
thorn in the flesh was sent to bufiet St Paul, called the messenger of 
Satan, against which he prayed and prayed again (for nothing doth more 
grieve the child of God than to be humbled and buffeted with base tempta- 
tions), but it was not removed. God's answer was, ' My grace is sufficient 
for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.' Paul had it in 
value though not in kind. So many times our prayers are heard when we 
least think and perceive the same, and the good we desire done us, as it 
were, against our will. As apothecaries and surgeons use to deal with us, 
so many times God deals with men ; when the plaster smarts, men cry to 
take it off, when in the mean time, by holding it on, the cure is done ; and 
so it is with us, we cry out unto God to take away this pain, that he would 
pull away such a plaster, such a corrosive from us. Why ? Oh, say they, 
that we may serve him better, and yield him more obedience, when indeed, 
with holding thee to it, and by binding, as it were, this cross fast upon thee, 
the very same thing God worketh in thee. 

(2.) Again, in prayer, you shall have many complaints of some. Oh that 
T had more life ! oh that I had more sense and feeling ! oh that this 
lumpish heaviness were removed ! when indeed the holding them off and 
delaying them in this suit is the highway to help them to their suit. 

(3.) Finally, When God hears us not in any of the foresaid ways, yet in 
effect he shews n^e have sometimes far better things tlian ice desired, as we see 
his promise is, Isaiah Ix. 17, ' For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I 
will bring silver,' &c. Thus, many times when we pray for brass, iron, 
wood, and stones, we have gold, silver, brass, and iron in place of them ; for 
when men labour in prayer, and have not the same things they have willed 
and asked for, God makes it up better another wa}'. A man perhaps 
suffers poverty, loss, or wreck at sea, and is now driven nearer unto God 
by prayer, hath a more plentiful measure of the Spirit poured upon him, 
learns now to depend upon God, and know what true riches is: this man, 
if he could value grace, is a hundred times richer than before, having his 
eyes open to see afar off into things invisible. In this case, a man may 
come to complain, I have prayed thus and thus long, yet my prayers are 
not heard, yet this and this cross lies heavy upon me. But look if thou 
hast gotten patience, and canst see that God hath sent this upon thee ; look 


if God have thereby driven thee olT, and weaned thee from the world, and 
hath let in the oil of grace into thy heart, so as now thou art a new man, 
having thy conversation more in heaven than ever, remember in this, thy 
prayers are not lost, but double paid, and I hope there is no cause to com- 
plain when the payment is so good. Thus all God's promises, like rivers 
perpetuated, ending in the sea, do end in heaven, and to this tend all the 
comforts, promises, threatenings, and crosses to bring us thither. Unto 
all these I might also add this, that sometimes our prayers are not heard 
for others, when yet the reflex of that good we wish thee* comes upon our- 
selves, so that they are not lost ; as we may see in the mission of the 
apostles. Mat. x. 13, they are willed in whatsoever house they come, to 
salute it, and if the house be worthy, that their peace be upon it. If there 
be a son of peace there, that peace be upon him, otherwise, our Lord saith, 
' let 3-our peace return to you.' 

V. The last circumstance is, the measure of propnrtinn. He hath set forth 
to no man any proportion of the things promised. To one he gives five 
talents, to another hut one. Must every one have as much faith, hope, 
love, humility, honour, riches, and other qualities as others ? Where then 
is that order which God hath appointed, to give the greatest and most 
eminent graces unto those he hath fitted for the greatest works and places. 
He gives thee not so much grace as another, because he hath not so much 
work for thee to do as for him unto others, or there is not so great trials 
and temptations appointed for thee to buckle with as is for such a one. It 
is a wonder to see how restless a great many are when they see others out- 
strip them in grace. They think nothing of that they have ; unless they 
could pray as well as such a one and such a one, then all were well ; but I 
say unto thee, content thyself if thou have any portion of grace, and be 
thankful for it. If God will open his hand in the use of the means, and 
give thee an increase, receive it joyfully ; but fret not with thyself, or 
quarrel with him ; if he keep thee of thy small measure, it shall serve thy 
turn to salvation as well as the greatest if he will give thee no more. 
Even as it was in the gathering of manna, Exod. xvi., he that gathered 
much had nothing over, and he that gathered little at the meetingf had no 
lack ; so he that hath most grace, it shall bring him but to heaven, and 
thy small measure shall lead thee thither also. Say not. Oh I shall never 
come thither unless I have such and such a measure of grace, and can do 
as such and such a one. What if thy God will have thee contented with a 
little ? His allowance shall suffice, the least measure shall bring us home. 
If in this case thou pray long and he hear thee not, blame thyself, striving 
thus to be thine own carver, not contented with allowance. 

So there is a measure of the dispensation of things, as I touched before. 
He hears us going on in a course and trade of prayer, his grant includes a 
continual trading ; as rain comes not all at once, but by degrees, that we 
might still have dependence for more, so God will give grace but by 
little and little, so as we shall still thi*ough the course of our life have 
cause to depend upon him and pray for increase. Thus, and many other 
ways, our Lord's promise is most sure. It stands always good. * Ask, 
and you shall receive ; seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and it shall be 
opened unto you.' If the fault be not in ourselves, prayer shall bring 
down a blessing at one time or other, and we shall find the eflect and fruit 
of it. 
,Now I come to the reasons, which are two: first, 'every one that asketh 
* Qu. 'them'? — Ed. f Qu. 'meting?' that is, ' measuriug.' — Ed. 


receiveth ; ' as if he should say, for the Lord exempts no man that doth 
not disable himself. This promise, we must understand, is not a thing 
chained to some function, as most promises are, but this is as the Lord's 
common. All must and may pray, and are heard, always reserved the 
former exceptions. 

The second is taken from fatherly compassion, so raising us up unto 
God, in and from whence these small streams we have flow, being much 
more abundantly merciful than any bowels of compassion which may 
be in us. ^ 

But chiefly I would have you consider how here in this place our Lord 
doth press this matter again and again, assuring us we shall be heard in our 
prayer, of purpose, as it were, to hold up our heads above water, which in 
this our weary journey are so ready to sink. One would have thought this 
a very large charter, 'Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find ; 
knock, and it shall be opened unto you ; ' and yet because he knew the 
difficulty of the same as well as the necessity, that it is a hard and a great 
task to pray in faith aright, and yet a thing absolutely needful, he follows 
it therefore, and presseth it home with several supporting arguments, 
which, God willing, we shall come to in their places. 

First, we must consider of the necessity of faith in prayer. For he that 
comes to God must believe that he is a ' rewarder of them that diligently 
seek him,' Heb. xi. 6 ; and St James shews us, that he who asks must ask 
in faith, or else we speed not, James v. 15. Thus Jehoshaphat encourageth 
his fearful army to believe in God, but first he was encouraged himself. 
It was told him, and he told it them, that they should not need to fear; 
God was on their side, he would fight for them ; and yet after this, Jehosha- 
phat shews how they must come by this deliverance : ' Believe in the 
Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall 
ye prosper,' 2 Chron. xx. 20. 

Brethren, it is true, the glory of God is put into our hands, as it were, 
to extend the same in obedience to every precept we are enjoined to observe; 
that so others, 'seeing our good works, may glorify our heavenly Father.' 
But most of all in believing we glorify him, and set forth his praises, because 
hereby we seal unto the truth of all the rest ; where by the contrary, if we 
believe him not, it is the greatest dishonour and disgrace that may be ; 
yea, John saith, ' Such a one hath made God a liar,' 1 John v. 10. Will 
you see an instance, how heinous this sin was in one of the best saints, in 
whom frailty no question for our comfort was suffered? Moses, Num. xx. 
10-12, was bidden to speak to the rock, that water might come forth to 
that murmuring multitude ; but in anger he smites twice on the same, 
uttering these words, 'Hear now, ye rebels, must ice fetch ye water out of 
this rock,' as though if it came not, he was excused ; and if it came, so, 
there it was. But for this, we know, he was not suffered to enter into the 
land of Canaan. We must trade in faith in all our actions, or we shall 
suffer loss in all ; when by the contrary, if we go on in this, we shall have 
mercy unto mercy. 

We read. Acts xiv. 9, th'at Paul, as he preached at Lystra, seeing an 
impotent cripple look on him stedfastly, in whom he saw faith to be healed, 
that by and by he made him stand up, and cured him ; this was bred, no 
question, in him by the Spirit of God, but the special means thereof was 
his attending on the word preached. This attention, prizing, and valuing 
of the word, is a near way unto it; when by the contrary, the infidelity 
of men doth, as it were, bar up the way against themselves, that the power 



of the Spirit is not so lively in working amongst them : as we see Christ 
says of those he conversed amongst, that because of their unbeHef, he could 
not do any great works amongst them ; the infidelity of these, as it were, 
hindering him, bound his hands in a manner, they being uncapable thereof. 
Lo ! what a necessity there is of faith in prayer, and how loathsome that 
stain of infidelity is ! If our faith fall, all doth fall to the ground ; if this 
abide, all goes well. Wherefore, as in war men take others' bonds and 
promises without further specialties, so do thou with thy God ; take his bond, 
and go boldly unto him : believe his promise ; there is a necessity thereof, 
it stands thee on thy life so to do. 

Secondly, /or the dijficuluj of prai/er with faith; our Lord saw that there 
was no work more difficult to be done, and therefore he so presseth it 
with arguments. 

The causes of the difficulty of prayer I take to be these : — 

(1.) First, Because our profaneness and natural corruptions do most 
shew themselves in this action. Hence herein are those many and often 
complaints of our deadness, dulness, and hardness of heart in prayer, and 
of those world of things which violently, we know not whence, and suddenly 
thrust themselves into our minds. The devil helps also, and thrusts on, 
incensing* our corruptions. 

(2.) Besides, this puts us down and out of heart from praying with 
assurance to be heard. The conscience of guiltiness gives stabs to our 
prayers. In this combat, the Egyptian or Israelite must die. If a man 
let loose himself to some gross sin, he shall be sure to find it in his prayer, 
sometimes to terrify him : sometimes to deaden his spirits, to weaken his 
faith ; yea, at the best he shall be found not to pray with any life : as Mr 
Perkins tells us of a man who had stolen a sheep, who for all this, though 
he went on in his devotions, found no rest until he had confessed the same ; 
till then the beast was ever in his way (e). Yea more, what checks and 
reproaches are then in the heart, sent close home by the accusing conscience ! 
As, what ! Wilt thou go unto God, and think to be heard ; thou, so wretched 
and profane a creature ; thou, that hast so often broken thy vows and pro- 
mises ; thou, that knowest so much of thy master's will, and docst so little ; 
thou, that hast sinned against conscience and knowledge ; that art so soiled 
and defiled with wallowing in the mire of sin ? 

Thus, though a man have prayed earnestly and often, it is not an easy 
matter to wash off the stain of sin, and quiet the conscience. As after a 
storm on the sea, though the tempest be gone, yet there is not by and by 
a calm, there will be a rolling and tossing of the waves up and down a long 
while after ; so, to believe that God will hear our prayers, and that he hath 
done away all our sins out of his sight, it is not by and by done, there is 
a rolling and a stain of sin, that will toss up and down a long time after 
our prayers are done. Will you see the proof of this in one of the best 
saints, who was tossed thus for our comfort ? The prophet David, after 
his great sin, and that he had confessed the same, 2 Sam. xii. 13, he had 
an absolution pronounced unto him by the prophet Nathan : ' The Lord 
also hath put away thy sin, thou shalt not die.' What could be more, and 
what now may hinder his joy ? * Blessed is he whose transgression is for- 
given, and whose sin is covered,' Ps. xxxii. 1. But yet you see how the 
waves roll, and are troubled, though the storm be over ; as Ps. li., how 
is he vexed ! how earnestly doth he pray for mercy ! — that ' his iniquities 
might be blotted out ;' that his sin might ' be cleansed ;' that he might * hear 
* That is, ' inflaming.' — G. 


the voice of joy and gladness ;' that * the bones which he had broken might 
rejoice;' that God would not 'cast him from his presence, nor take his 
Spirit from him ;' that he would * restore unto him the joy of his salva- 
tion,' &c. 

What was the cause of all this stir ? 

(1.) The filthiness of sin discovered, the Majesty offended, the punish- 
ment due, the scandal which came to others, to the dishonour of God by 
the part}^ offending, together with the odious stain and filth which that sin 
left behind upon the soul, was such, that the greenness and yet smarting 
of the wound did not suffer him thoroughly to apprehend and fetch home 
the consolation. As we see, if a wound be raw, though suppling oil be 
brought unto it, and though it be applied with a light hand, which is com- 
mendable in that art, yet being touched, because of that rawness it smarts 
still ; so the conscience being wounded, and the sore raw still, sin appearing 
like a monster in his colours, the punishment due apprehended, and the 
bitter belches thereof yet arising, though the comforts of God be like sup- 
pling oil applied by the hand of the skilful surgeon, to allay and cure the 
same, yet the comforts not being digested, nor able so soon to expel the 
former impressions, the Spirit being but raw in them, and the conscience 
of their own unworthiness being great, no comfort can fasten, but many 
fears remain in them for a long time. 

(3.) Thirdly, Because there is a marvellous ignorance in us of the nature 
and dealing of God ; not that we can be altogether ignorant of him, who is 
so glorious in all his creatures, filling heaven and earth with the majesty 
of his glory, yea, and is so good unto us ; but as it is one thing to give rules 
of war, and another to practise the rules, so it is one thing to speak of 
God bravely, and another thingf to practise those things we know and speak 
of. For when we have need to ask and beg of God those great and rich 
mercies to salvation, which should support and help us in all storms, diving 
into the use and depth of his attributes, in place thereof we draw unto 
ourselves a narrow scantling,* and false image of God, judging of him not 
as he is, but as we conceive him to be, like one of us. Which we see the 
Lord reproves, Isa. Iv. 7 : there God saith, ' Let the wicked forsake his 
way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the 
Lord, and he will have mercy on him ; and to our God, for he will abun- 
dantly pardon.' And then it follows: 'For my thoughts are not your 
thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, saith the Lord. For as the 
heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, 
and my thoughts than your thoughts.' Is there sense in this ? Dost thou 
ask what the sense is ? As if he should say, alluding to thy senseless 
ignorant objections. What man could pass by these and these things ! 
what father could pass by these offences in his child ! how then shall I look 
for pardon of God ? Unto this he answers. Measure not my working by 
scantling* the same after the proportion of any creature, or anything in his 
imagination, unless, I say, he have had his light from God, for my mercy 
outstrips all your conceits. Hence our prayers are weak and cold, because 
we make false images of God. But this point I shall meet with anon, 
therefore I let it pass. 

(4.) Fourthly, Because we take a delay for a denial, and so are dis- 
couraged ; that if we be not heard by and by, we throw down our armour 
and run away, or sit still astonished, so disabling ourselves. 

(5.) Fifthly, The hardness and difficulty of .the things we pray for hin- 
* Cf. note a, Vol. I. page 117.— G. 


ders our prayers ; as John xi. 38, when Christ came to Lazarus's grave, 
and called to take away the stone, that he might raise him up, Martha cries 
out, ' Lord, by this time he stinketh, for he hath been dead four days.' 
This hinders our prayers, when we cry out it is too late, or the thing is so 
great, how can it be done ? She was reproved, you know, and so must we 
be in this case. Another instance we have, 2 Kings vii., where, after Elisha 
had prophesied of that sudden plenty should be in the gate of Samaria 
after so great a famine, a lord, on whose hand the king leaned, answered 
the prophet, * Behold, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, could 
this thing be ?' He had an answer suiting his unbelief, and Hved to see 
his infideUty punished, being trodden under foot by the people in the gate, 
as they went forth into the forsaken camp of the Assyrians. So, I say, 
these and the like things stand in our way, because they seem hard to be 
done. As in the East India adventures, a time was when men were quick 
and ready to buy other men's shares, because the returns were good ; but 
when the business went in show backwards, many have been as busy in 
selling their parts again ((/). So we seem rather to go back than forward 
in our prayers, because of the difficulty of the things we pray for. We are 
ready to leave all, and sell our adventure. 

(6.) Lastly, The sixth impediment is Satan's opposition to our prayers, 
which he labours by all means to interrupt. For it stands him on it to 
bestir himself to quench our faith if he can, because it gives vigour, force, 
and Hfe to prayer. It troubles not the devil the saying of a thousand 
Paternosters and Ave Marias without faith. If a man know not what he 
says, or cares not whether he pray or no, all is one to him, if there be no 
faith in prayer. Satan knows if faith lay not hold on God, God does not 
lay hold on us, and therefore his policy is to deal with us as Scanderbeg is 
reported to have used his enemies in fight, still to aim at the general (e) ; 
or rather Hke that stratagem of the king of Syria, 2 Chron, xviii. 30, neither 
to fight against great or small, but against the king of Israel ; so Satan's 
special charge is to fight against faith and prayer, the special man ; the 
which his subtile and cruel dealing towards us is much like unto that 
tyranny Pharaoh used toward the children of Israel in Egypt, Exod. iii. 18; 
he put them into extreme toiling servitude to make brick ; so he commanded 
to slay the children ; but when none of these succeeded to his mind, he 
then determined to kill all. So, many times before prayer, the devil puts 
men to make brick, by filling their hearts with many cares or temptations, 
or by their own sins, deadness, dulness, hardness of heart, or other things 
to be done, with a world of discouraging, and confused thoughts of God, — ■ 
his mercy, justice, and the like ; and all this to keep a man from prayer. 
But if the mercy of God help a man through these difficulties, that because 
of the command of God, that knowledge he hath of his will, and his own 
necessities, he will yet break through all, and go to prayer, notwithstanding 
all impediments ; then, in the next place, he labours to make us kill the 
children in the birth ; that is, whenas our weaknesses, and many wants 
and imperfections that way, should be as fuel to our prayers, and induce- 
ments to make us hold on, and in reverence contain ourselves, still begging 
and waiting at the throne of grace for what we want or desire, he turns 
the same into horrors, fears, and flying away from God. Yet if this will 
not serve the turn, but that our God doth allure and draw us unto his 
presence again, and that we resolve to pray, though with many tremblings, 
fears, and weaknesses, because we know not whither to fly from his pre- 
sence ; then, when our prayers are done, and wo have striven as we are 


able, he persuades us to despair that our prayers are not heard, are nought, 
that our persons are abominable, that God loves us not, and that since 
Christ so turns us off still without comfort, we shall never, therefore, have 
any, &c. 

The uses are. 

Use 1. First, Arjainst the jjrofaneness of such persons ivho make a mock of 
prayer. But some may object there are none such. I wish there were 
not. But we know there are too many of this strain. I speak not of 
prayer established by law ; none will, none dare meddle with that ; it is 
dangerous. But for praying in houses, it is strange to see the profaneness 
in this kind. You shall have some say, Lo now these hypocrites ; see what 
a stir they make ; and he that doth keep some form of prayer in his own 
house constantly, though it may be but coldly done, yet he cannot escape, 
but is branded with the name of Puritan, when it may be, of all others, 
he least deserves it. But I will pass by this. 

2. The second use is, for reproof to such as think it an easy matter to pray. 
Ask a ^beggar wandering through the country how he thinks to come to 
heaven, and he will answer. By my good prayers. So the dissolute and 
profane man, ask him how he thinks to come to heaven, he will say. By 
my good prayers. I confess, if you mean saying of a prayer, it is easy ; 
but to pray aright, to pour out thy heart and soul before God, to believe 
he hears, and will come to help thee, to pray in faith, to rend thy heart 
before him, to lay hold of those things in him which are for thy humiliation 
and consolation, to wrestle with him, and strive for a blessing, to hope 
above hope, and, being delayed, to wait for him till he come, this is ex- 
ceeding hard to be done. What then, profane man, hast thou not heard 
what is written ? Zech. xii. 10, * And I will pour upon the house of David, 
and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplication,' 
&c. ; so, hast thou not read what is wi'itten ? Ps. x. 17, * Lord, thou hast 
heard the desire of the humble, thou wilt prepare their hearts,' &c. Hast 
thou not read what is written, Eom. viii. 16, ' Likewise the Spirit helpeth 
our infirmities ; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought ; 
but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us, with groanings which can- 
not be uttered.' And dost thou, a lump of flesh, wallowing in thy sin, 
think to prevail by and bye in prayer ? Those who are most forward thus 
in little esteeming and talking of prayer, many times are most to seek in 
sore and hard trials ; as you shall have fencers, who make bravest flourishes 
when they play at blunt, are put most to their shifts when they come 
to the sharp (/") ; so, if such a one as I speak of fall into distress, he cannot 
draw out his sword, it rusts in the scabbard. It is a wonder to see grave 
and wise men to come so far short of this, that in the sorrows and discom- 
forts of themselves or others, they cannot pray ; a minister must be sent 
for to say somewhat unto them ; they cannot themselves pray. I deny not 
but that God's dear children may be driven to this need upon divers occa- 
sions of sickness, sorrows, and temptations, to crave the help of others, that 
they may be humbled. Neither deny I but that book prayers may be 
good and profitable, and that there is a good and holy use of them, in which 
all our necessities may be included, if they be well and rightly penned ; but 
yet for all this, it is a shame for men to be so ignorant that they cannot 
tell their mind to God in prayer, and plead for themselves and others in 
necessity, being more unfit to pray than David was to march in Saul's 

3. The third, use is for covifort. To whom? To such as are good in 



prayer, and jet are out of heart with their prayers. I would have such see 
how Jacob wrestled, wept, and prevailed with God in prayer. In some sort 
we must be contented to go away halting ; there will be defects and imper- 
fections in our best prayers, do what we can. * That which is born of the 
flesh is flesh,' and will be so; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,' 
John iii. 6. You shall have those who are fullest of grace most complain, 
like rich men whining most when their bags arc fullest, you shall have them 
complain, Lord, help me, I cannot pray ; what shall I do ? It is all to no 
purpose ; better leave than go on in such a formal course. I am worse and 
worse. Surely, if I could pray aright, I should speed better. But I ask 
thee how ? Dost thou not pray at all ? Yes, will they say, I pray, but I 
pray not as I should, with faith, fervency, constancy, and feeling. I faint, 
and am discouraged in my journey. Hear me ; thou seest a man go under 
a great burden, and perhaps so sinking under the same, that he must stoop 
and rest him often ; and yet thou pitiest him, and thinkest for all this that 
he carrieth this burden, though he rest himself. So may it be with thee 
in prayer, seeing it is one of the hardest tasks of the world to pray with 
faith and feeling. If in this thou find stops and failings, be not discouraged; 
thou seest what a hard thing it is [to] go upright under so gi-eat a burden. 
Yet be not out of heart, though thou must sit down by the way; but know 
thy striving and endeavour shall bring thee through at the last. The bring- 
ing forth of a right prayer through so many oppositions, it is in a manner 
like the bringing forth of a child, in which there is much pain, anguish, 
and sorrow ; so that we had rather do anything else ; but when the child 
is born, then there is joy. Though with the remembrance of the throes of 
prayer thou art astonished, be comforted in this, the work is done, and 
thou hast made thy prayers known ; the issue at one time or other shall be 

4. The fourth use is for advice. If the Lord have given us liberty at 
any time this way, that our hearts have been opened and enlarged, our 
faith strengthened, our eyes cleared, our consciences eased, so that our 
confessions have been large, bless God for this, and reckon it a most sin- 
gular mercy. We fail all herein for want of thanksgiving. We can com- 
plain in wants, strivings, deadness, and senseless hardness. Oh my wants ! 
Oh my ignorance ! Oh my blockishness ! Oh my hardness of heart ! Oh my 
infidelity ! But when our suit is granted, where is our thanksgiving ? 
If thou bring forth a right prayer, let God have a sacrifice. It is a great 

5. A fifth use is, /or exhortation, to set on prayer as a work of great diffi- 
cult)/. We must learn to whet and sharpen our tools first. As the pro- 
phet David out of meditations thus made prayers, thus must we prepare 
matter ere we pray. As the blood runs to the veins from the liver, made 
of the best and purest food concocted and digested ; so we should prepare 
and digest fit matter, and not set on the same rashly and unpreparedly, 
as some think they may. Hear me : What will not men do in great 
important matters to compass them ? So doth it much behove thee to 
consider what may humble thee, what may raise thee, what may encourage 
thee, and draw thee on before thy God, that thou mayest in thy distress 
make a right and proper use of the nature of God, and all these excellent 
things considerable in him. When we set on it shghtly, it is no marvel 
though our return of consolation be of the same stamp. So in our general 
prayers we should have a fellow-feeling to set on edge our desires ; but spe- 
cially if we would be men of prayer. Christ would have set our faith on work 


that this might fly to heaven, to fetch from thence whatsoever is good for 
us. Now in this case it is a marvellous cunning to dung our faith, as 
men dung the root of a tree to make it fruitful ; though I confess some- 
what else is to be done to the body, as the pruning and lopping of the 
branches, such as the increasing and scouring of our hope and love, with 
other graces, by the Spirit, which, as it hath an office in the branches, so 
doth it also descend into the root and help us there ; so that the root of 
all prayer is the Spirit, but the root to thee is faith. 

Now by what means should this be done, to dung our faith ? 

As in war they use a double help for their further security and strength. 

1. The main; 

2. The auxiliary helps ; 

So is it with our faith. The helps are divers. 

(1.) First, To labour to know and make clear our title to God, as a Father : 
which is here implied : ' How much more shall your Father which is in 
heaven give good things to them that ask them ?' To this, two main things 
belong : first, to consider the right how we come to this title ? Only by 
faith in the Son of God : as it is John i. 12, ' But as many as received 
him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that 
believe on his name.' Nothing can make them become the sons of God, 
but by faith in the Son of God. To clear this, it must be by the sign as 
well as by the cause. The apostle tells us, Gal. iv. 6, ' And because ye 
are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, cry- 
ing, Abba, Father.' Dost thou think thyself now in a blessed estate ? 
Art thou one of the sons of God — for all his children are sons and daugh- 
ters b}' adoption ? Dost thou say thou art one of his sons and daughters ? 
And dost thou say thou believest, being one with Christ, and so art justi- 
fied by him ? Take this also with thee ; then he hath ' sent forth the 
Spirit of his Son into thy heart, to cleanse and sanctify thee : and hereby,' 
saith the apostle, 1 John iii. 24, * we know that he abideth in us, by the 
Spirit which he hath given us.' If we make claim to justification, and 
omit sanctification : if no Spirit, we have no title of sons ; for we know 
the same apostle saith, ' Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin, 
for his seed remaineth in him ; neither can he sin, because he is born of 
God,' 1 John iii. 9. 

(2.) Next, To be careful to keep the evidences of our adoption always in 
repair: I mean that we keep those graces which build us up hereunto, as 
fresh and flourishing as may be, that we read them fair in the time of trial. 
A man that in the country lays up his deeds and writings in the smoke, 
may find them so eaten and darkened, that when he should use them they 
cannot be read ; so I doubt many of our evidences are smoky, and so 
blotted, that in our need we cannot read them. Our care hath not been 
to lay them up safe, and keep them in repair, by which it comes to pass 
that now we are to seek in those things which belong to our peace. 

(3.) Lastly, as it is in Col. iii. 17, ' Whatsoever we do in word or in 
deed, we do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and 
the Father by him.' We do no honour to God, but through Christ ; and 
so in the particular of our prayers we have the less joy, living in dis- 
couragements, not giving the beginning of all unto him, and the riches of 
his grace. When because we have nothing of our own to put in, where- 
upon we may build and rely, we go away heartless and discouraged, as 
though we should not be so bad, but somewhat should be in us to procure 
his mercy, never all this while having sufficiently seen our nakedness, that 


there is nothing in us, and that we must be covered altogether, and wholly 
in his presence, that no lilthiness be discovered. We read, Exod. 
xxviii. 42, that the high priest going about his sacrifice must have on his 
linen breeches, from the loins even unto his thighs, that he might not bear 
iniquity, and die, discovering his nakedness. What ! Such a high priest ? 
so holy, so gloriously attired, so covered with rich robes ? yet he shall die 
for all this if he want his linen breeches. I fear many of us come thus to 
(rod, not having soundly seen our own nakedness, and where only all our 
comfort is to be found. The apostle, 1 Cor. iii. 21, says, ' Therefore let 
no man glory in men : for all things are yours ;' to wit, with the former limi- 
tations, to do us good. * All things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, 
or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, things present or things to come, 
all are yours :' but a man's title must be in Christ : for it follows, ' And 
you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.' So Rom. viii. 82, the apostle's 
argument is, ' He that spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all, 
how shall he not with him freely give us all things ?' If Christ be once 
given thee, Christ is more than heaven, and earth, and all ; if he be given, 
God will deny thee nothing. 

The auxiliary helps are as foreign soil to barren grounds, marl, lime, and 
the like, which make fruitful ; and herein consider these things, 

(1.) The general graciousness of God to all his creatures. This is a 
gi'eat help that he feeds the young ravens ; yea, as it is Mat. vi. 26, that 
be feedeth all the fowls of the air. "Whence from his general goodness the 
inference is, ' Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to- 
day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe 
you, ye of little faith ? ' The consideration of his graciousness unto all 
the sons of men, and especially to many evil men, when they have called 
upon him, of which God hath shewed us many instances that they have 
been heard, should make us not keep off, but hope to speed well; yea, and 
in this also to consider the graciousness of God in receiving great sinners 
unto mercy, which the prophet, admiring, thus speaks of : Micah vii. 18, 
* Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the 
transgressions of the remnant of his inheritance ? he retaineth not his 
anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy,' &c. I doubt many wrong 
themselves in this, because they erect before them a false image of God. 
If one should see a picture of God before him, as the papists do make him, 
like an old man with a cloak and a staff, and a great many about falling 
down before him, frowning on some, beating of others, kicking of others 
away, what an absurd thing would we think this (//) ! What difference is 
there betwixt a false picture and a false image of God in thy heart ? When 
thou canst not conceive of him but as terrible and incensed against thee, 
assure thyself, thou dost not prostrate thyself with right thoughts before 
him, if being a sinner thou thinkest he will smite thee down. 

(2.) Secondly, His all -sufficiency and omnijwtency, being in heaven above, 
and overruling all, who is excellent in knowledge, wonderful in working, 
all-sufficient to save, and powerful to put down the mighty from their seats, 
and to exalt the humble. He is beyond all fathers. They see but a little, 
they are not always present, they are not always able to help when they 
would, but he doth see thee at all times, is ever present, and able to help 
thee in all disti'esses ; he is greater than all in breadth, in depth, in height, 
in length, in mercy, in power, as being in heaven above all ; fathers are 
not so. These be two special helps. 

(3.) Thirdly, The j)rovtises, the faithfulness of God. The precedents of 



them in former times to thyself, or others. As Ps. Ixxvii. 5, David was in 
great and sore distress, yet, saith he, ' I have considered the days of old, 
the years of ancient times,' &c. And in another place the church pleads, 
* Our fathers trusted in thee, and were delivered ; ' and so from thence 
raiseth a ground of confidence. Thus the prophet David he reasons the 
matter with Saul, when he was to go forth and fight with that great and 
terrible Philistine : 1 Sam. xvii. 34, ' Thy servant kept his father's sheep, 
and there came a lion and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock ; and I 
went out after him, and delivered it out of his mouth ; and when he arose 
against me, I caught him by the beard, and smote him, and slew him. 
Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear ; and this uncircumcised 
Philistine shall be as one of them.' The danger was now the same, where- 
fore having the like faith and protection, he looks for the like deliverance. 
So look what experience thou hast had of that which God hath done for 
thee, and make thy advantage thereof. Withal remember how even good 
men, where they have been bountiful, delight to give more and more still. 
Though it be not so always with men, yet it is so always with God ; if 
once he have heard thee in mercy, he will hear thee always. 

(4.) The last and principal one for this purpose, is that which lieth in 
the text, the first main reason which now fitly profiers itself, the universality 
of the grant, which is as a common, every commoner having interest therein, 
some more, and some less, yet all have interest less or more. As princes 
have masters of requests, who as grand officers have access unto them at 
all times, and are familiars, yet every man may deliver a petition to the 
king. Abraham we know was a holy man, and the friend of God ; others 
there be inferior. Saint James wills those who are sick to send for the 
elders of the church, that they may pray over them, &c., James v. 14. 
Thus though all be not officers, yet all men have an universality of the 
grant : * Every one that asketh, receiveth.' 

Some may here object. What is that to me ? I am not in the covenant. 
I answer. If thou be an outlaw, get thee in as soon as thou canst ; but if 
thou art such an one that art not outlawed, then thou hast a title in the 
common, do as thou canst in carrying thyself as a commoner. Let us 
remember in the common cause we have need to be ready with our help, 
as we would be glad of help in the like case. In this let us ask ourselves, 
What have we done for others with our prayers ? What for the church at 
home and abroad ? It shall lie heavy upon us if we shall omit to help 
them now with our prayers at their need. In the city, when men have 
entered freemen, they use to pay scot and lot {h) ; so in Christianity, if we 
be entered as freemen, where is our scot and lot ? Where are our prayers 
offered up for king, our country, for religion, against masses, the sins of 
the time, the judgments threatened, and the like ? 

Here some may object, and say, Alas ! I am a poor servant, I cannot 
pray, let others pray that can ; I am a poor ignorant man, with such like. 

I answer. What if thou be ! Thou art a citizen in Christianity ; thou 
must pay scot and lot. How do men strive with their landlords for their 
commons ? They will raise a mutiny, do anything, keep somewhat on it 
for possession's sake, rather than lose it, if it were but to keep one poor 
cow upon it. So, whatever thou be, maintain thy title in this common, 
do somewhat for it. 

The last argument is taken from the lesser to the greater, from fathers 
on earth, declaring that if so much mercy, pity, affection, may be, and is 
in them to their children, how much more pity, love, mercy, and the like 



may we expect from onr heavenly Father. I will go over but a few of 
these things, and so make an end, wherein I will not dispute all things, 
how fathers do and should do to their children, but limit myself within 
the compass of two examples only. 

1. Of a good father to an ill sou. 

2. Of a good father to a good son. 

1. That of 2 Sam. xviii. 33 shall be the first, where when Absalom had 
rebelled against his father, cast him out of the kingdom, abused his con- 
cubines, and was in pursuit of him for his life, yet when that battle was 
lost, wherein his son died, and the victory now on his side, how doth the 
king mourn, as though all had been lost ! and though he was a magnani- 
mous king, yet this made way to his passion, so that he went up and 
down weeping and crying, ' Absalom, my son, my son Absalom, would 
God I had died for thee, Absalom, my son ! ' Oh the love of a father 
to his son ! 

2. The second is that of Jacob, who when he had thought Joseph had 
been dead, it is said be rent his clothes, put on sackcloth, mourned for his 
death many days, which sorrow was so great, that when all his sons and 
daughters rose up to comfort him, he refused to be comforted, but said, 
' I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning,' Gen. xxxvii. 35. 
So Gen. xliv. 30, when Benjamin was like to have been stayed prisoner by 
Joseph behind the rest, with what earnest affection doth Judah plead for 
his enlargement many ways ! amongst which this was the chief, that 
Jacob's life was bound up in the life of his children. 

Now, it is to considered, that though fathers be thus good, yet some may 
fail ; but the thing is, they know how to be good, and are so ordinarily, 
unless it be when some, like monsters, prove unnatural in distemper of 
temptation, necessity, or some other sinister way. This dear affection the 
Lord excellently shews us, Isa. xlix. 15, ' Can a woman forget her sucking 
child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb ? yea, 
they may forget, but I will never forget thee.' A father may prove un- 
natural to a son in a fit of temptation and distemperature, as Saul, who 
threw a javelin at his son Jonathan ; sometimes necessity will cause 
unnaturaluess, as 2 Kings vi. 28, in those women who consented to seethe 
their sons, one of them complaining to the king that she had done so, but 
the other would not. A miserable complaint, and most woeful misery, to 
hear of a woman who had buried her son in her own bowels. But this is 
rare and not usual. So a father may forget himself, and pass all afiection 
in jealousy, as that Turk who made one strangle his own son out of a 
conceit he was too well beloved of his subjects. Thus with many the like 
occasions, parents may become churlish and unnatural to their children ; 
but still this stands firm, they know at least how to be kind unto them. 
Our Lord would have us learn from hence, that he can do much more, and 
far surpasseth them all in whatsoever kindness can or may be in them. 

See this last help to stay up our hands, to wit, that little picture of the 
great God in the dearness of affection which he hath placed in parents. If 
thou be a father or a mother, thou knowest it ; but no man can know it 
but a father or a mother. Also, hast thou not seen what affection may bo 
in a son to the father ? As we read of the son of Croesus, who, though he 
were dumb, yet when he saw the murderers to come in, who were ready to 
kill his father, violence of affection suddenly burst forth into these words, 
as the story shews, * Oh, spare my father ! ' (/'). If so much may be in a 
son unto thee, how much more may be in thy God for thee ? 


Now for all this, thou art afraid of thy imperfections, weaknesses, and 
manifold infirmities, that these shall stay good things from thee ; and there- 
fore thou criest out, Oh my prayers are lost, they are to no purpose ! oh 
my sins, weaknesses, and infirmities, these stop the way to my prayers ! 
What, man ! Hast thou a son, and perhaps he marries without thy per- 
mission, or doth some other shrewd* turn, which grieves and vexeth thy 
spirit, and this child, perhaps, comes home wounded unto thee, with blood 
about his ears, and so falls down before thee, freely confessing his wander- 
ing and misdemeanours, and prays for thy favour and forgiveness ; tell me, 
wouldst thou not embrace him, and cry out, ' Oh my son, my son ! ' all 
the rest should be forgotten and forgiven ? What then, man, thinkest 
thou of thy God, when thou sayest thou canst have no comfort in prayer ? 
Thou beast, what wilt thou mali:^ of thy God ? What ! is he a God of 
cruelty, anger, and revenge only ? No, no ; in this case thou feignest unto 
thyself false and abominable conceits of God, and thence the returns of thy 
comforts are answerable unto thy wretched fancies. But if ever he hath 
turned thy heart unto him, and dealt graciously with thee, or hath allured 
thee unto him by his graciousness and kind dealing with others ; or if thou 
findest in thyself how much thou canst pass by in thy child, though there 
be many great faults and omissions, make thy advantage of this, and go 
unto thy God ; whatsoever thy case be, thou shalt find him more exceed- 
ing merciful, as the church doth, Micah vii. 9, and therefore she comes to 
triumph : ver. 18, ' Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, 
and passeth by the transgressions of the remnant of his inheritance ? he 
retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will 
turn again,' &c. 

We are all much to blame in this, even those who have the greatest mea- 
sures of grace, that we do not aright make use of the nature of God. 
Sometimes melancholy, temptation, and want of judgment are causes of 
our error, wherein our understanding, fancy, and other powers of the soul 
are disordered, until light come in to dispel these clouds. It is strange to 
think that when we were enemies to God, with our backs to him in our 
natural blindness, and in sin running from him, then to think he should 
receive us, and now to stab us with our faces towards him in the state of 

To conclude, if it be such a hard thing to pray so as to obtain, if we 
have need of such and so many helps to lift and hold up our very hands, 
which are ready to fall down, the Lord teach us to know our faults, and 
tell us what is yet further to be done, that we may learn to wrestle with 
God, and prevail in prayer ! If we have been faulty in times past, let us 
mend ; and among other things, now when the ark is like to be in danger, 
let us not prove injurious unto God in forsaking his cause. Hear me ; 
hath God brought the church in divers places now into such dangers, yea, 
and some great ones also, environed with fears and crosses, and shall we 
now prove so injurious to God as to retire from them (at least not to have 
the benefit of our help and prayers) ? Was it accounted such a foul offence 
to cause Uriah to be left in danger in the foremost rank, and then command 
that the troops should retire ; and shall we not now be much more faulty 
to leave them in this danger ? Let us aid them, then, with our prayers, 
until God, who is wonderful in working, and excellent in power, bring 
light from this darkness. We know not what the issue may be ; but in 

* Cf. our Glossary, stib voce. — G. 


the mean time, if we pray, this remaineth always sure, that ' if we ask, we 
shall receive.' Our Lord hath said it ; it is so, it must be so. 


(a) P. 235. — ' It was a rule in the ancient time, " Lay thy hand on the plough," 
&c. See note c to ' Divine Meditations,' page 229. 

(b) P. 238. — ' The king of Navarre . . . the prince of Conde.' It is only neces- 
sary here to notice tliat Sibbes evidently sees tlie ' iinger of God' in the murder 
of Henry by Eavaillac. The apostasy of the great Huguenot points many 'a moral' 
to the Puritans. The services of Conde it were superfluous to annotate. He too was 
assassinated, by Montesquieu. 

(c) P. 242.—' Mr Perkins tells us of a man,*&c. Cf. our Memoir of Sibbes, Vol. 
I. pages xxsviii., xxxix. See the ' Cases of Conscience' of this fervid and searching 
old Divine for the above and many other similar quaint illustrations. 

{d) P. 244. — ' As in the East India adventures.' India was the JSl Dorado of the 
age of Sibbes ; and every year witnessed some scheme of romantic adventure and 
fabulous promise. Our speculation is not so modern a thing as many deem. 

(e) P. 244. — ' Deal with us as Scanderbeg is reported.' This is the celebrated 
warrior-king of Albania, renowned in song and story. There are various early 
English books, contemporary with Sibbes, about him. Cf. Watt sub voce. 

(/) P. 245. — ' Fencers make bravest flourishes when they play at blunt.' That 
is, in sport, or for practice, not in earnest. The weapons, or ' swords,* are then 
' covered,' or * blunted.' Hence the technical phraseology ' blunt,' being a pointless 
rapier or foil to fence with. 

(ff) P. 248. — ' If one should see a picture of God before him.' Such ' pictures' are 
not at all uncommon ; for it is a popular mistake that only God the Son, and, as the 
' dove ' or ' radiance,' God the Spirit, are represented. In Genoa there is at this day 
a painting very much corresponding with Sibbes's description. If I remember aright 
it is by Pietro Perugino. 

(h) P. 249, — ' Scot and lot.' These are the dues to the lord of the manor for 
ingress and egress. 

(i) P. 250. — ' The son of Croesus.' . . . "Oh, spare my father." This touching 
and remarkable incident, which was the means of saving the life of Croesus, took 
place at the siege of Sardis. The beautiful narrative of Herodotus has made it 
immortal. G. 




' The Rich Pearl' forms the second of the four ' Sermons' appended to ' The Saint's 
Comforts' (see Note, Vol. VI. page 160). Its separate title-page is given below. 



In a Sermon upon the 

Parable of a Merchant 

man seeking good 


Matth. 13. 45. 

Shewing what that Pearle 

is, how we may get it, how 

we mny know we have 

it, how to improve 

it, &c. 

By that FaiyifuH and Re- 
verend Divine, R. Sibbes, 
D.D. and sometimes Preacher to 
the Honorable Societie 
of Grayes-lnne. 

Printed at London by Tho. Cotes and 
are to be sold by Peter Cole. 1637. 


And again, the kingdom of heaven is like imto a merchantman seeking goodly 
pearls, ^fc— Mat. XIII. 45, 46. 

St Paul expresseth in the Epistle to the Philippians what this parable 
typifies. There he teaches all is ' dung in comparison of Christ,' Philip, 
iii. 8. Here the Spirit teaches that all must be parted with to gain this 
pearl spoken of in this place ; and as St Paul, so Christ, his thoughts 
were all heavenly. He came from heaven ; and while he was on earth, 
his thoughts and speeches shewed whence he was. All his discourse is of 
heaven, sometime in plain doctrine, other whiles in parables; as in this 
chapter is manifested, comparing the kingdom of heaven to a sower, 
ver. 24 ; to a grain of mustard seed, ver. 31 ; to leaven, ver. 33 ; to an 
hidden treasure, ver. 44 ; and in these two verses to a merchant of pearls, 
beginning the verse with the word ' again,' to shew that he insisted upon 
the former matter. His love to mankind admits of no weariness in repe- 
titions, and often inculcating the same things, thereby to work a strong 
impression in our minds, as knowing that they are above our understand- 
ing, and that we are indisposed to them naturally. And it should teach 
us not to he iveary of hearing the same things; as also St Paul admonisheth 
us, in telling us it is safe for us: Philip, iii. 1, 'Though in itself it be 
tedious to the minister.''"' And indeed it is the unhappiness of ministers to 
be often pressing the same thing ; and yet they must not neglect it, seeing 
Christ stooped so low to take up this duty, for the benefit of our souls. 

In the next place observe, Christ teacheth hg j^wraWe's, helping the soul 
by the body, the understanding by the sense; teaching us, out of objects 
of our sense, to raise up our souls to divine meditations, so as the soul is 
beholden to the body as well as the body to the soul, though not in so 
eminent a measure. But it may be questioned. Are not parables hard to 
be understood ? I answer. It is true, if they be not unfolded they are 
hard ; but if they be once manifested, they are of excellent use ; and like the 
cloud, lightsome towards the Israelites, to give to them light, but towards 
the Egyptians a cloud of darkness. And carnal men are earthly in 
heavenly matters; and, on the contrary, those that are spiritually-minded 
are heavenly disposed in earthly matters. And it teacheth us our duty, 
viz., to be of a holy disposition in the use of these outward things; for the 
* He says just the opposite, ' To me it is not grievous.' — Ed. 


creatures Lave a double use, one for the good of the body, another for the 
good of the soul, as Rom. i. 20, ,scq. The Godhead is so manifest in the 
creature, as it alone is sutlicieut to leave us without excuse ; and therefore 
as we daily use them, so should our souls, by way of meditation, make 
them as a ladder to ascend on high. But for the parable itself, in it 
first we will expound the terms, and then pass to the observations. And, 
first, by the ' kingdom of heaven ' is meant sometime the company of men 
that are under Christ's regiment,* that acknowledge him for their king ; as 
wo say it is not the walls that make the city, but the body of men united 
and governed by one law, custom, and privilege. But here it may be well 
taken for the blessed estate that doth belong to such, together with tho 
means that bring them to this estate, and the prerogatives annexed to it, 
as peace, joy, grace, and the like ; but most especially for the glorious 
estate of a Christian, begun here and perfected hereafter, for where this is 
supposed, it doth suppose the means and prerogatives also formerly spoken 
of. And therefore if we ever think to come to heaven, it must be bei/un 
here i)i tJiis hlmidom of a race. And hence it is that the word is sometimes 
called the ' kingdom of heaven ;' for Christ will rule in those here by his 
Spirit that think to reign with him hereafter. And it should also comfort 
those that find in them the first-fruits of this kingdom, for they shall 
assuredly have the harvest at length. Fear not trials nor troubles ; grace 
once begun, though as a grain ' of mustard seed,' will not leave growing 
till it ends in glory. And yet it must be supposed that our carriage here 
must be as if we were in heaven ; our thoughts must suit with our estates. 
We are kings, our thoughts must be high; and take heed how we dis- 
esteem the gospel. If we neglect it, we neglect the kingdom of heaven ; 
if we contemn it, we refuse also, and contemn grace, and so disclaim all 
title to heaven. It is further said that it is with this * kingdom' as with a 
merchantman that seeks pearls. This merchant is evenj Christian. Our 
life is a continual merchandising of something, and taking other in ex- 
change, and taJdnrj such as are better than the thinr/s u-e part with, else 
will our trade be soon at an end, and we never a whit the better. And 
therefore the Christian, like a good merchant, trades for pearls. A Chris- 
tian life therefore is a life of trading, a venturing life ; and therefore a life 
of danger, being ever as it were in danger of death, as the merchant is at 
sea, yet ever sure that his God will not forsake him, but assist and defend 
him off from the rocks of Satan's temptations, and accusations, and terror 
of conscience, and despair on the one side, and from the alluring waves of 
the world, that he falls not into that dangerous whirlpool on the other side. 
His life is also a life of labour, labouring in his particular calling with 
faithfulness, having ever an eye on his other calling; and thus by an holy 
use of the things here below, his mind is ever climbing up the hill, to see 
the end of all his labour, and to aim at it in all his thoughts, words, and 
deeds. And as it is a life of labour, so it is not fruitless. It isf for pearls 
of honour, pleasure, or profit; but the Scripture counts these but dirt and 
thorns, although in our childish esteem we count them goodly jewels, being 
indeed but counterfeit glass. Yet there is a sort of higher spirit, that do 
indeed seek a pearl, having purposes to serve God ; but they in seeking 
meet with counterfeits, with false teachers, that make glorious shows, yet 
indeed are but mountebanks, who shew and sell them much counterfeit 
pearl, and thereby seduce them from the right way. But such as God 
intends good unto, he informs them by his Spii'it that this is not the right 
* That is, ' government.' — G t Qu. ' is not '? — Ed. 


orient pearl ; and this tliey find by experience. It quiets not their hearts 
nor their consciences ; it gives them no comfort. Briefly, it stands them 
in no stead ; nay, it hinders them. And this makes them cast about 
anew for other treasure, as the woman of Samaria, a ' Messiah that will 
shew them all things,' John iv. 25 ; and at length they meet with this rich 
and precious pearl. And thus Augustine, a Manichee at the first, fell to 
doubting of his estate, and at length met with God indeed, which he for- 
merly sought in vain.* To proceed: this merchant seeks, then finds, then 
sells all, to get the pearl that he thus found, wherein we will shew what 
this pearl is. 

First, therefore, by this pearl is meant Christ Jesus, ^olth all his fimces 
and prerogatives derived]- to us, by the means of his ordinances. Christ is the 
great pearl; all the rest are pearls, but no otherwise than as they lead us 
to Christ, the peerless pearl. Now, we know that pearls are bred in 
shell-fishes, of a celestial humour or dew ; and like hereto was Christ, by 
heavenly influence formed in the womb of the Virgin. And as pearls, 
though formed in the water, yet originally are from the heavens, so the 
graces of God's Spirit are from heaven, though placed in earthly hearts. 
And again, as pearls, though here below, yet are like the heavens in clear- 
ness, so Christians by this gracious influence from this pearl Christ Jesus, 
though they live here on earth, are more like heaven than earth, wherein 
they are bred ; and thus is Christ also. ■ Though he took the flesh of man 
upon him, yet he hath the lustre of the Godhead, in whom all the attri- 
butes of God do plentifully shine. Again, a pearl is of great value and 
worth; and so Christ, one Christ of infinite value, and therefore became a 
ransom for many millions that were in bondage, so as all the whole church 
hath interest in him, and every particular Christian hath such a part in 
him, as if one only man had been in the world to have been saved by him, 
Christ must have died for him. He was given by God to purchase our 
redemption ; and not only to purchase our deliverance, but also to make 
us acceptable, and to fill us with other things that are good in him. We 
have all that we stand in need of here and hereafter ; all our grace and 
comfort ariseth from him. In him are the treasures of wisdom and 
counsel hid; 'and from his fulness we all receive grace for grace,' John 
i. 16. Furthermore, it is such a pearl as frees us from all ill; nay, it is 
powerful to turn all ill to the greatest good. It makes life out of death ; 
it makes joy out of afiliction ; it makes the devil, our enemy, to be a 
means of hastening us to heaven. Lastly, this pearl makes us good. 
Like the philosopher's stone, it turns everything into gold. So this 
makes us God's jewels ; and our High Priest doth now in heaven bear us 
in his breast, as the precious stones that were in Aaron's breastplate. It 
makes us kings and priests to God, and a spouse fitting for him our Hus- 
band. It adorneth us with all graces, it makes all ours, and entitles us to 
heaven, which we lost in our fall. Christ then is this pearl. 

But now, in the second place, let us see how ive may come by this pearl. 
We must therefore know that this pearl may be had ; and we must have 
hope thereof, else there is no venturing for it; and therefore God, to pre- 
vent all excuse, he offers this pearl in his word. The pearl is sent from 
heaven to come to us. The ministry layeth open the riches of Christ, to 
make us long after him. He desires us to be good to our own souls, to 
receive the pearl thus offered. He entreats us to be reconciled to God, 

* Cf. ' Confessions,' Introduction and throughout. — G. 
t That is, ' communicated'. — G. 
VOL. vn. B 


2 Cor. V, 20: 'Oh that my people woiald bear,' Dcut. v. 29; '0 Jeru- 
salem, how oft would I have gathered thee, as a hen gathereth her 
chickens!' liuke xiii. 31. What can we have more? We see it is no 
desperate matter, therefore it may be had. The ministry, though never 
80 vile in account of men, yet hath made men rich : 2 Cor. vi. 10, * Yet 
making many rich.' 

In the next place, nhat must ^l'e part nith / We see in this text the 
merchant parts with all, so must we give all that we have; and if we have 
nothing, then we must give ourselves, and God will give us ourselves 
again, but far better than we were when we gave ourselves to him. But 
what ! may some say, doth God require we should forsake all indeed ? I 
answer, not as the papists do, that vow wilful beggary, 

1. But, in the first place, n'e should partivilh the estimation of all. We 
may keep them and use them, for God gave us these things to that end; 
but yet let us so use them as though wc did not use them. Let them not 
have our chief affections, nor chief seats in our hearts. 

2. Secondly, So we are to part with all things, that 7ve viust hare a heart 
prepared to part irith all, if we cannot enjoy them, and this pearl too. If 
the question be whether we had rather have this world than Christ, we 
must resolve to part with father, mother, lands, yea, with a man's own 
self, rather than with Christ. Without him honour shall be no honour, 
pleasure no pleasure. To us all things should be dung and dross in com- 
parison of Christ ; nay, * the sufferings of this world are not worthy to be 
compared with that glory we shall have,' Rom. viii. 18. So as there is no 
proportion between them 

3. Thirdly, We must so part with these things as we must be ready to 
sell all without constraint, to honour Christ in his p>oor members; sell all for 
ointment for Christ's feet, part with anything that we may stand for 
Christ. Especially we must part tcith all sins. He that retains any one 
sin can never get this pearl ; he that keeps in his heart but one beloved 
pleasure or profit of this life, let him read, pray, hear, profess never so 
much, the devil hath him sure by the leg or by the wing, and as sure as if 
the whole man were in his hands ; for he will willingly suffer a mau to go 
to, and use any good exercises, knowing they add to a man's damnation, 
so long as he retains a secret delight and liking to any lust, let it be never 
so small. And further, we must not part with sin only — for every sin 
hath some one good or other for its object, as covetousness of riches, 
ambition of honour, and such like ; we must therefore ' sell all,' part with 
our affections, with all their branches and objects, if they will not stand 
with Christ ; part with honour, riches, yea, our own lives, for they are far 
inferior to this precious pearl. Take heed of reservations of this one thing, 
this Zoar or that Rimmon, as Ananias and Sapphira. For who would not 
have Christ, if he might have pleasure, or profit, or honour with him ? 
No, Christ will have all ; and therefore this is the first lesson in Christ's 
school, deny ourselves, our reputation, the conceit of our own wisdom. " 

In the next place, let us see what the tjain of this trade will be. AVo shall 
think ourselves no losers. We shall have Christ, and with him all things. 
What we give to him, he will return back, if they be fitting for us, and 
with them he will give us grace to use them, teaching us to want and to 
abound ; and when we are come to give all for this pearl, — though indeed 
we have nothing here at all but only in our own esteem, — Christ will be 
worth all to us. Witness Moses, that chose to suffer affliction with the 
people of God before the pleasures of Pharaoh's court, Heb. xi. 25, seq. 



And therefore Christ in this life promiseth a return of a hundred fold, 
which consisteth in abundance of comfort to our full satisfaction and con- 
tent, which all the world cannot give, and that makes all things here to be 
* vexation of spirit ; ' and therefore David, when he was a king, counted 
the testimonies of God better than gold, Ps. xix. 10 ; and St Paul counted 
these things here, notwithstanding his many privileges, to be ' dross, and 
dung, and loss in comparison of Christ,' Philip, iii. 8. And it stands on 
God's lionour not to make us losers when we trade with him. If we part 
with riches, pleasures, and honours, life, world, we shall have better riches, 
better and more enduring pleasures and honours, eternal life, and ' a new 
heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness,' if we part with 
these for conscience' sake ; whence we may learn zvJio are the true rich men, 
even the Christian, that hath abiding riches, that will continue with him so 
long as his soul continueth, and such riches as make us good and accept- 
able in God's esteem, that in our extremities will stand us in stead, sup- 
porting and commending us to God, and in'^death doth not forsake us, but 
goes with us to heaven. But a worldling ' walks in a vain shadow, and 
disquiets himself in vain,' Ps. xxxix. G, in heaping to himself riches and 
pleasures which he must part with, for he can carry nothing with him 
when he dies but a load of sins, which he commits in gathering this worldly 
pelf. All this gay clothing he must put off when he goes to his long home. 

See, in the next place, tcho is the right fool. Is not he that in his judg- 
ment preferreth counters* before gold, and the baubles of this present life 
before that enduring substance in the heavens. We condemn Adam, Esau, 
and Judas for their foolish choice, when, alas ! there is no worldling but is 
as ill as the worst of them, if not worse, if worse may be. Are there not 
many that sell Christ for less than thirty pieces ? Are there not many 
that cast him away for nothing ? What doth the common swearer and 
blasphemer but sell Christ, nay, cast away him, and all hope of happiness, 
for a mere presumptuous daring of God ? And the best worldUng sells 
Christ for a very thing of nought, a toy, a pleasure of sin, or a little profit. 
Such strongholds hath the king of this world in the hearts of the children 
thereof. But how shall we know when we have this pearl ? We should 
examine our hearts, ivhat we could part ivith for Christ. Many that make 
profession of Christ in this life shew that they affect f nothing but a bare 
title of profession ; for their hearts tell them they never yet could find in 
their heart to deny pleasure or profit, no, not anything for Christ's sake; 
and yet are fully persuaded they must needs have this pearl. No, no ! 
Christ is not to be had, neither is he to be kept upon such poor easy terms. 
Men ' cannot serve God and Mammon,' Mat. vi. 24. 

Secondly, K we have this pearl, ire shall have a ivonderful admiration at 
the excellency of the value thereof: Ps. Ixxxiv. 1, 'How beautiful are thy 
dwelling places ; ' Ps. cxix. 97, ' Oh how do I love thy law ; ' 1 Peter i. 8, 
' Joy unspeakable ; ' and chap. ii. 9, * Marvellous light.' What says the 
worldling ? Oh, this or that marvellous rich man, goodly living, stately 
house, ancient family ! Are these things for a Christian to wonder at, who 
entitles himself to glory in the highest heavens ? No. Worldly respects 
fall down where heaven is advanced. When Paul is a convert, ' those 
things that were formerly gain to him, he counteth loss for Christ,' Philip, 
iii. 7. 

Thirdly, Whosoever hath this pearl, it works in him a wonderful joy 
above all worldly joy whatever, ' above the joy of harvest,' Isa. ix. 8. 
* Cf. Glossary, sub voce.—G. t That is, ' desire.'— G. 


Zaccheus and the eunuch rejoiced ; yea, in adversities this joy forsalies us 
not. It made St Paul sing in prison. But men will say, Who are more 
heavy and dejected than Christians? I answer, that God's Spirit appeareth 
not always in joy, but sometimes in mourning ; for the want of the assist- 
ance of God's Spirit, which is an evidence of a taste and interest in the 
blessed estate of regeneration. 

In the last place, if we have this pearl, our affections and speeches will be 
busied evermore about it, and our whole course of life will shew that we 
have it. In the next place, if we have this pearl, bow shall we improve it 
to our most advantage ? First, therefore, let us be as laborious in keeping 
it as Satan is laborious in striving to deprive us of it ; and to that end we 
are to icatch over our especial and imrticular corruptions, and then most espe- 
cially ivhen the devil proffers %is a good ; for we may be sure it is to deprive 
us of a better good. He gives an apple, but he looks to deprive us of a 
paradise. There was never man yet escaped from him a gainer ; and 
therefore in such temptations, examine his ofiers by the light of sanctified 
reason, and we shall find ever he ofiers us loss. In the next place, let us 
look that ice preserve the vessels of our souls in jniriti/, that we may be fit for 
the pearl that must be set in gold. And in the next place, let us make use 
of Christ and our interest in him. If we be in bonds under sin, ofier Christ 
to God. Lord ! Christ which thou gavest me is the righteousness 
which thou canst not but accept, seeing his righteousness is infinite, and 
thou hast made it mine. I am a beggar of myself, but thou hast made 
Christ all in all to me, to that end that thou mayest esteem of us all in all 
to thee. Oh how quiet and peaceable is that soul that is in this estate ! 
' How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob ? who is like to thee, Israel ! ' 
Num. xxiv. 5. Saved by the Lord, happy art thou! In less temptations, 
as afilictions, or death, that king of terrors, if that should seize on us, then 
consider. What do we lose ? Nothing but that which we must one day 
leave of necessity. If we then have laboured formerly for this invaluable 
jewel, we are then most near it ; our salvation then is most near even at 
that instant while we are labouring. Are we enjoying our treasure ? shall 
not we be as desirous of the rich things that grace afi"ordeth us as we are 
of the riches of this life ? If the promises of such things do quicken us, 
how much more the things themselves. If we be troubled with losses, 
what lose we ? Not our pearl, not grace, not our God, in whom is ever 
fulness of content. If he fills us with content, it is more than all this vain 
counterfeit world can afibrd us. What if we be robbed of pins, so long as 
we keep our jewels and hid ti'easure. Are we troubled with solicitations of 
Satan ? are we subject to be drawn away of ill company ? We should 
reject such things with scorn, and eay, 'Avoid, Satan!' Your offers are 
loss to me ; loss of peace, loss of comfort. The pleasures of sin are but 
for a season, godliness is profitable to all ; nay, it is above all other riches. 
The time will come when nothing besides it will comfort us ; nay, all 
other things will charge us with greater account, and load us with bitter- 
ness at the latter end. Let us therefore learn to be good husbands* for our 
souls. What is the glory of our nation ? Is it not that we have mines of 
this invaluable riches, that we have ministers to draw out of this deep well, 
and to reveal this precious water of life to all, and that we may buy without 
money. Therefore let us take heed how we trifle away these privileges. 
The time will come when we shall want them, and then wisdom will laugh 
at us as if we have not been wise to lay up durable riches. 
* That is, ' husbandmen.' — G. 





' Sin's Antidote ' forms No. 25 of the original edition of Saint's Cordials, 1629. 
It was not givea in the other two editions. Its separate title-page will be found 
below.* G. 


In One Sermon. 

"Wherein is shewed, 
■ What sinne is. 
The misery of if. 

How it bindes over to condemnation. 
How and in what sense it is said to be remitted. 
How lustice and Mercy jo yne in this act of remission of sinnes. 
That all the benefits of the new Covenant are given with remission of sins. 
That it is possible to attaine unto the knowledge that our sins are remitted. 
L Lastly, how this knowledge is attained by the spirits threefold conviction. 

Prselucendo Pereo. 

Vpkightnes Hath Boldnes, 

1 lOHN 1. 9. 
If we confesse our sinnes, hee isfaithfull and just to forgive us our sinnes, and to cleanse us 
from all unrighteousnesse. 

EoM. 3. 19. 
For as by one mans disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall ma- 
ny be made righteous. 

Printed in the yeare 1629. 


For this is viy blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many, for the 
remission of sins. — Mat. XXVI. 28. 

I HAVE already noted three things in the text.* 

1. The name or title that is here given to the sacrament: it is called 'the 
blood of the new testament.' I have shewed the reason of it, and how all 
our good is made over to us by a new covenant which is sealed with the 
blood of Christ. 

2. I have shewed also how this testament is confirmed, ratified, and 
established by the blood of Christ. 

3. I have shewed the fruits and benefits by this covenant thus established, 
in the extent of it, which we spake of the last day, ' It is shed for many,' 
where I proved that many shall reap benefit by it ; and not few, but many ; 
and again, not all, but many ; though many, not all. 

Now it remains that we come to the main benefit itself, and that is, the 
remission of si)is, which, that you may the better understand and make use 
of, I will first open the phrase clearly, what is meant by this same * remis- 
sion of sins.' Secondly, We will answer some doubts about the sense. 
Thirdly, We will gather the main conclusion, collect the main point intended, 
make application of it, and so conclude. 

First, for the phrase that is here used, the great benefit that we have by 
the covenant, and by the blood of Christ, it is remission of sins : ' Shed for 
many for the remission of sins.' The word in the Greek, a<psGiv, 'remis- 
sion,' properly signifieth the sending of a thing back again to the place from 
whence it was taken ; so remittere is retromitterc, to send a thing back again, 
as old Jacob in his prayer, ' The good Lord be merciful to you, my sons, 
and give you favour in the sight of the man, that he may send back again 
that my other son, and Benjamin also,' Gen. xliii. 14 ; there, to 'remit,' is 
to send them back again to the house from whence they came.f 

So likewise Paul sent Onesimus back again to Philemon, in this sense, 
when he came away ; that is the proper sense of the word, ver. 12. And if 
it should be taken properly, then to remit sin is to send it back again from 

* The previous Sermon or Sermons have not been preserved. — G. 
■j" Cf. Kobiuson sub voce in Greek, and Freund in Latin. — G. 



■whence it had its first heing and beginning. Satan, the devil, tempted man, 
it is to send sin back from man to him, from whence it came first. But we 
need not tie the word so strictly. I say therefore the word is a metaphor, 
and so here only alludes to that same custom of releasing captives, or of 
releasing servants that were bound, in the year of jubilee, and the like ; to 
release them from that yoke, bondage, and subjection to which they were 
tied : and so rcmittcrc is as much as reJa.rarc, so it is used, to release and 
to free one from a yoke and bondage. * Thus we have obtained remission 
of sins, when we are released from that bondage under which sin hold us. 
That you may yet more clearly understand this, you must consider what 
opposition sin hath — 

1. Against God. 

2. Against his law. 

1. By cliscrrninrf of these we shall hwtv uhat it is to have sin remitted to a 
man, howsoever these in the thing are but one and the same. There is 
no man transgresseth the law, but he sins against God, and there is no 
man that sins against God, but he transgrcsseth the law ; yet, for doctrine's 
sake, and for your understandings, we will distinguish them, and shew you 
what that is that sin doth more directly against the majesty of God ; and 
then what it doth against the law of God, and how it is said to be remitted 
in both these. 

Every sin is an injury and wrong oflfered to God. Now, when God 
remits sin, he passeth by the wrong done to himself. In point of his 
honour and sovereignty, the creature is bound to his Creator, to give all 
his strength to his service. Now, when a man employs any of his strength, 
either of soul or body, in the service of anything against God, God is so 
far wronged, and therefore sometimes God takes this as a dishonour to 
himself, sometimes he accounts it as a rebellion against himself ; so that 
in sin there is an enmity against God, and a dishonour to God. There is 
an enmity: so Eom. viii. 7, 'The wisdom of the flesh is enmity against 
God ;' and ho shews the reason why he calls it enmity against God, 
' because it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be ;' that 
is, it doth not yield that orderly subjection to God which the creature 
should to the Creator, that subjection to the Lord that children should 
shew to their father ; and therefore David, when he comes to confess his 
sins, Ps. li. 4, says, 'Against thee, against thee have I sinned, and done 
evil in thy sight.' He notes two things there in sin that aggravates it, 
and makes the sense more grievous, that it was before God, and done in 
his sight ; and then, it was against God, ' Against thee have I sinned, and 
against thee have I done evil.' So that, when God doth remit sin, he doth 
as it were forgive that rebellion ; he doth not account a man longer a rebel 
against himself ; and though he have rebelled before, and have rebelled 
never so much, yet now he accounts him as a loyal subject, and now he 
recounts him a faithful servant, and an obedient child, because his rebellion 
is pardoned. That is the first thing. 

Another thing in sin is, God is dishonoured. Why? ' If I be a father, 
where is my honour ? if I be a master, where is my fear ?' saith God in 
that same Mai. i. G. He accounts obedience his honour, therefore dis- 
obedience is dishonourable to him. ' He that offers me praise, glorifies 
me,' saith he, ' and to him that orders his conversation aright, will I shew 
the salvation of the Lord,' Ps. 1. 23. Now the ordering of a man's con- 
versation, which is an actual and real praising of God, this is a glorifying 
of God ; when a man orders his conversation amiss, when he disorders his 

sin's antidote. 265 

conversation, and walks in a sinful course agaiust the rule and against God, 
he dishonours God. Now, when God forgives sin, he doth put up all 
injuries done to his honour, and accounts him now as a man that had 
never dishonoured him at all. And that is the first thing. 

2. Secondly, Consider sin as it is a breach of the law. So it is said of 
sin, ' It is a transgression of the law.' The law is the bond that binds all 
men ; sin leaves a man in this bond. Now the law laps a twofold bond 
upon a man. 

1. A bond of duty ; 

2. A bond of misery ; if he shall neglect and fail in his duty. 

(1.) The first is, a bond of duty, that is, a bond of obedience. Every 
man is bound by the law to obedience, to obey God according to that will 
which he hath manifested and revealed in his law. Now when a man fails, 
the bond is forfeited, he remains now under this bond, to expect all the 
danger that will follow upon the neglect of obedience ; and therefore sin is 
called a debt: 'Forgive us our debts,' Mat, vi. 12. So that when God 
forgives a man's sins, he deals with him as a merciful creditor doth with 
his debtor, that though he were indebted to him, yet when he forgives him, 
he accounts it as if he were not in debt ; and him, as if he had paid all, 
and there remains no more reckonings between them : so that God releases 
the bond now in respect of obedience, in the first sense, that is, in respect 
of that obedience, that should have been performed in time past ; as it is, 
Kom. iii. 25, ' he is our reconciliation through faith in his blood, to declare 
the righteousness of God in the remission of the sins that are past ;' that is, 
those sins that were committed before, they are now forgiven, and a man 
is acquitted even from that obedience that is due to the law for the time 
past. That is the first thing, that whereas he failed in the breach and 
transgression of the law, his disobedience is not imputed, it is not accounted, 
and he remains as if he had obeyed the law for the time past, though he 
had not obeyed it all. 

(2.) But then, secondh', there is soviethinr/ wherein a man is hound for 
the time to come ; that is, he is bound now to the curse of the law : ' Cursed 
is every one that continues not in all that is written in the law to do it,' 
Gal. iii. 10. Now when God remits sin, he frees a man from that curse ; 
all that should have followed upon his neglect or failing in his obedience, 
' He hath freed us from the curse of the law,' saith the apostle, ' inasmuch 
as he was made a curse for us,' Gal. iii. 13. So that, put all this together, 
and 3'ou now see what it is to have sin remitted. It is, for a man to be 
released and freed from all that guilt under which he was held, by which 
he was bound over to judgment for dishonour done to the majesty and 
glory of God ; for rebellion against the sovereignty of God, for trangressing 
the law of God, and that curse under which he was bound ; he is freed from 
all, so that God beholds a man now as one that had not at all dishonoured 
himself, or rebelled against him ; God looks upon a man now, as a man 
that had not transgressed his law, or been under the curse and censure of 
the law in any point. So that you see there is a perfect and total forgiving 
and passing by of all sin, and a releasing of a man of the punishment of 
sin. When a man obtains this favour, to have his sins remitted him, this 
is that we call remission of sins. But now for the sense, there be two 
questions that must be answered. 

Quest. 1. The first is. Whether this remission of sins be all the benefit we 
hare in this new covenant by the blood of Christ? So it seems to be here, 
as if there were no other benefit but this ; ' This is the blood of the new 

266 sin's antidote. 

testament, shed for many, for the remission of sins.' There he names 
nothing but remission of sins. 

Ans. 1. I answer, This is not all the benefit, though this include all the 
rest, and therefore it is only named. You shall find sometimes that this is 
left out : Jer. xxxi. 14, ' This shall be the covenant,' saith the Lord, ' that 
I will make with them ; I will be their God, and I will put my fear in their 
hearts, and they shall not depart from me :' and there is no mention of 
remission of sins there. There sanctification is mentioned without justifi- 
cation ; here again remission of sins is mentioned without the working of 
fear in their hearts ; here is justification without sanctification, and so in 
that place of the Acts, x. 43. 

Ans, 2. Secondly, We are said to be * baptized for the washing away of 
sins.' There the washing away of sins is put for all the rest. 

Sometimes again you shall have them both mentioned : and so in Jer. 
xxxi.' 32, * This shall be the covenant that I will make with thee, in those 
days,' saith God: ' I will be their God, and they shall be my people ; I will 
forgive their iniquities, and give them a new heart, and I will take away their 
heart of stone, and give them an heart of flesh,' &c. Here is all put 
together now ; sin remitted, and the new heart given, and all expressed 
and mentioned in the new covenant. 

Quest. 2. How comes it then that remission of si)is is here put for the 
rest ? 

Ans. 1. I answer, first, Because that this is the first mercy ; and, 
secondly. This is the chiefest mercy, and the chiefest benefit in the new 
covenant, and therefore it is put for all the rest, by a figure usual in the 

(1.) First, I say, it is that which God first doth, it is the first mercy 
which he shews. It is no hoping that he will bestow any gift on a man, 
until he receive him to favour. All those other gifts, those gifts of grace, they 
follow the gracious accepting of a man. First, God receives the person of 
a man, accepts him to favour, and then he bestows upon him all those 
gifts that are bequeathed by Christ in this testament. A king first receives 
a rebel to favour, forgives him his offence before he bestow any honour, 
any other privilege upon him. Now, because this is the fii'st, therefore it 
is put for the rest, the rest follow it. 

(2.) Then, secondly, because this is the chief, and so it includes all 
the rest under it ; for, if this be once obtained, if this favour be once 
bestowed on a man, that God have forgiven him his sins, then he gives him 
everything else. So the apostle, Ilom. v. 9, 10, saith he, ' If, when we 
were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son ; much 
more now, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.' If, when wo 
were enemies, wo were reconciled by the death of Christ, that is the first 
thing ; and the greatest of all the great works of mercy was to remove and 
take away the impediments, the obstacles, the blocks that lay in the way. 
Sin, the conscience of sin, to pui-ge the conscience from that, to forgive all 
that which laid a man open to the wrath of God, this is the greatest work ; 
if this be done, it is an easy matter to obtain all the rest. And this may 
be noted the rather for the comfort of weak Christians, that doubt so much 
of sti-ength of grace to subdue any corruption, for assistance and grace to 
persevere in an holy course. Hath God done the first work ? Hath he 
forgiven thy sins ? All the rest are less works than this ; it is a less 
mercy, after sin is forgiven, to increase grace, to continue grace, to subdue 
corruption, and the rest ; all will follow upon this, they are all included 

sin's antidote. 267 

under this : therefore, I say, let a man make sure this to himself, first, 
that he hath forgiveness of sins, and then from thence let him raise argu- 
ments to strengthen his faith, and to encourage himself in asking another 
mercy at the hands of God ; and so in any outward thing, in any outward 
want,_ distress, or difficulty, if God have done the greater, he hath forgiven 
thy sms. You know the apostle reasons from the giving of Christ, ' If he 
have given us his Son, with him he will give us all things,' Eom. viii. 32. 
Now the first and greatest gift, in the Son, it is this, to have our sins for- 
given, and therefore he will certainly give all the rest with it ; if a man 
can make good this one thing to his soul, all the rest will follow upon it. 
bo much for the second question. 

Quest. 3. Again, there is another, and that is this, Hoiv can it he said here 
that this blood is shed for the forgiveness of sins ? It seems somewhat con- 
tradictory and opposite one to another ; for, if sins be forgiven, How comes 
Christ to shed his blood for them ? And if Christ shed his blood for them, 
How are they said to be forgiven ? 

Ans. 1. The shedding of Christ's blood supposeth merit. It was by the 
merit of his death that we obtained this mercy. Now where there is merit, 
what mercy is there in it ? Forgiveness supposeth a free gift, a free grace ; 
but where there was such a merit, as was procured by the blood of Christ, 
what free gift was in it ? These two seem to fight one against another, 
and therefore we must reconcile them; for these two may well stand 
together, remission of sins, and yet the obtaining this by the blood of 
Christ.^ To this purpose you must consider in God, 
Justice and mercy. 

He IS exactly just, and exactly merciful. He so shews mercy, as it must 
be done without injury to his justice. Justice must be fully satisfied, that 
mercy may be fully and comfortably manifested. Now there is the blood- 
shedding of Christ to satisfy justice, there is forgiveness of sins to declare 
mercy ; for that is the common speech of people. Ask them how they 
hope to be saved ? They will answer. They hope to be saved by the mercy 
of God. It is upon a mistake, for they do swallow up justice in mercy, 
as if God could not remain exactly just in shewing mercy ; now tell them 
again, that God is as perfectly just as he is merciful. Ay, but they hope 
to find better than so, they hope they shall find mercy. 

And therefore know, that there is no man that receives this mercy in 
the forgiveness of his sins till justice be satisfied even to the utmost. If 
the justice of God were not fully satisfied, I say, the infinite justice of God 
m the exact rigour, and in the perfect righteousness of it, if it had not 
been satisfied to the atmost, it had been impossible that any flesh should 
have been saved. 

A71S. 2. And therefore, secondly, consider another thing, and that is, 
the comparison between Christ and us. Look upon Christ, and there is 
justice fully satisfied ; look upon us, and there is mercy fully shewed. In 
us there is no merit, nothing but the guilt of sin ; that if God would receive 
sinful men to favour, reckon, it must proceed from the tenderness of the 
bowels of his mercy, from the freeness of his love, by whom we have 
redemption through his blood, even the remission of our sins in his rich 
grace in the same, Eph. i. 7, 8 ; it is the tenderness of mercy, and the 
riches of grace, if he look on us, because there is nothing in us. 

Now look upon Christ, who hath indeed satisfied the wrath of God to 
the utmost, and therefore he is declared to be a Saviour by the resurrec- 
tion. If Christ should not have remained in the prison, as he was in the 



prison of the grave till he had paid the utmost farthing, God had not been 
just ; he was indeed our surety, and there was no possibihty of our being 
released from the debt, unless our surety had paid the utmost farthing. 
But now therefore, when Christ rose out of the grave, and was now released 
of the bonds of death, and was freed out of prison, into which he was cast 
as our surety, it is evident the debt is fully discharged, the creditor is fully 
satisfied, and now our peace is fully made, because Christ hath purchased 
us, and therefore in respect of Christ we are said to be bought : ' You are 
bought with a price, and therefore glorify God in your bodies and spirits.' 
And you are redeemed, saith the apostle ; that is, you are bought, ' not 
with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ,' 1 Peter 
i. 18. So that there was a price upon the blood of Christ, a value, a 
worth. Consider the person that shed that blood ; it was one that had 
two natures : he was God, able to satisfy the wrath of an infinite, ofi"ended 
majesty, and therefore it is said that God purchased the church with his 
blood, Acts XX. 28 ; that is, because he that purchased the church with 
his blood was God as well as man. Now by this it comes to pass that his 
blood was meritorious, of an infinite value, worth, and price, and so he 
merited the favour of God. It was merited on Christ's part, but not on 
our part. Every way it is free to us. The gift of Christ is free, for that 
it comes from the free grace of God. ' To us a child is born, to us a son 
is given,' Isa. ix. G. It is a gift, Christ was given, and then the applica- 
tion of Christ to us, the acceptation of us through Christ ; this is a gift, 
and a gift of grace, as the apostle calls it in that same Rom. iv. 4. It is 
of free grace that God accepts us ; he might have chosen others. We 
know that angels fell, and fell irrecoverably ; Christ took not upon him 
the nature of angels, but he took upon him the seed of Abraham, and so 
he became a Saviour, not of angels, but of men, Ileb. ii. IG. The angels 
that fell are fallen for ever, but Christ died that he might save men. So 
that every way it is free. It was free that God gave his Son to this abase- 
ment, it was free that God gave his Son for men, it was free that God 
should give men faith to lay hold upon his Son : ' Through faith you are 
saved by grace, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,' Eph. 
ii. 8. So that remission of sins, though it be by the blood of Christ, it is 
an act of free mercy, an act of mercy whereto God is no way bound, but 
did it freely of his own love and mere motion, and'of his own good pleasure. 
Thus you have the words opened. I have shewed you what remission is. 
I ha-ve shewed you also how these things stand together, the shedding of 
Christ's blood, and yet remission of sins by free grace. 

Now let us come to the main point intended, and that is this, that 
Doct. All the hcuejits that hclicvcrs hare hij the }ieir covenant, and so by 
the death of Chriat, they are all of thcvi yiren them in the reniis><ion of their 
sins. And therefore remission of sins is here put for the whole covenant, 
for all the privileges of the covenant, because all the rest are given in this 
and with it. Look what time God forgives a man's sins, at that time he 
gives him all other things, sanctification, and whatsoever else, as we see 
at large in Ezek. xxxvi. 2G, the Lord speaks there of the intention of his 
goodness to his people : ver. 26, he shews what he will do, he will cleanse 
them from all their idols, and forgive all their sins, and then he will give 
them a new heart, he will cause them to walk in his ways ; and then he 
comes with outward mercies too, as far as shall be good for them ; he pro- 
miseth them deliverance from their enemies, and other good things, in the 
rest of the chapter, but all other things come in with remission of sins. A 

sin's antidote. 269 

man that hath his sins forgiven, he hath the other things given with it. 
This point we are to prove and apply, it is a point of great weight, it is the 
very key of the gospel, which requires great attention in the^ hearer, and 
great care in the speaker ; there is much in it, for the very not distinct 
and clear understanding of this causeth a world of doubts and scruples, 
and gives advantage to Satan for many temptations, as we shall shew when 
we come to open certain cases about this. 

1. First, We must open the point, and make it appear to be a truth, tliat 
all other privllecjes and benefits of the new covenant are given to believers in, 
and ivith the rcviission of their sins, so that a man may conclude, he that 
hath his sins remitted and forgiven, he hath, and shall have all the rest of 
the promises of the new covenant ; and therefore David, Ps. xxxii. 1, 2, 
saith, ' Blessed is the man whose iniquities are forgiven, blessed is the man 
to whom the Lord imputeth not sin.' The apostle, Rom. iv., expounding 
that text in the point of justification, he shews wherein the blessedness of 
a man consists ; that is, in that he may appear before God without his sin, 
without his filth, without that that makes him abominable to God. And 
therefore such a man is truly blessed, for he hath with this all that can 
make him blessed. Look whatsoever a man would have to make up his 
blessedness, and to prove to his own soul that he is a blessed man, he hath 
all that here with remission of sins ; you know, that other things, sancti- 
fication and the rest, are part of our blessedness, and therefore they must 
go along with this remission of sins. And so in another place of Scrip- 
ture that speech of the apostle. Acts x. 43, is for us, ' To him give 
all the prophets witness, that through his name we have remission of 

Now the prophets gave witness concerning Christ of many other things 
besides remission of sins. That we have in his name, that we have by 
him, but all other things come with this, and therefore he would have them 
chiefly to mark, that that which all the prophets wouild have the church to 
understand to be the great benefit they have by Christ, is the remission 
of sins. They all join in this, that this is the general benefit, as it were, 
the great gift of all, that supposeth and includeth all the rest in it, that 
'whosoever believes in him shall have remission of sins;' 2 Cor. v. 19, 
* God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their 
sins.' God was in Christ, reconciling the w^orld to himself, a marvellous 
great mercy ! This consists in this, that their sins were not imputed. 
Ay, but there are many other things that a Christian would desire besides 
this ; for what man that hath, in truth, his sins forgiven, that hath his faith 
working by love, by love to Christ, but he would desire also, that as his 
sins past might be pardoned, so he might walk before God in newness of 
life ; and therefore that is that which David so much prayed for : ' Oh that 
my ways were so direct, that I might keep thy statutes,' Ps. cxix. 5. Now 
we have this into the bargain, we have this into the agreement, as it were, 
in with the rest, that our sins are not imputed. When this is granted we 
have this also with it, that they shall not condemn, as we see, Rom. viii. 1, 
' There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, which walk 
not after the flesh, but after the Spirit;' there is no condemnation to them. 
This is a great mercy, and this is one mercy that we have by Christ ; but 
this is not all, for, saith he, * they walk not after the flesh, but after the 
Spirit ; ' to shew that this walking after the Spirit, it is a thing that the 
Spirit of grace works in them, that is given to them by Christ ; for ' the 
law of the Spirit of life which is in Christ hath freed me from the law of 

270 sin's antidote. 

sin and of death.' So that now you see plainly there is something else 
given when sin is not imputed, and so a man is free from condemnation ; 
all the rest Qomes in with it; that the law of the Spirit of life frees us from 
the law of sin and of death, and so by degrees perfects holiness and sancti- 
fication with it ; and so in divers other places of Scripture I might allege 
for this purpose, but I intend not to dwell upon it. I will make it appear 
to you by some reasons, and so come to the uses. You see it is so, you 
shall see also it will be so, and it must be so when we have remission of 
sins, when this great mercy is bestowed on a man, that his sins are for- 
given, all the rest are given with it. 

'Eeasu)is. 1. The first reason is taken from {he nature of sin. Consider 
that if sin be taken away once, that which hinders all our good is taken 
away, as Isa. lix. 1, 2, it is said, * The hand of the Lord is not shortened, 
that it cannot help ; nor his ear is not deaf, that he cannot hear : but your 
sins separate between you and your God, and hide his face and keep good 
things from you.' Good things are kept from us when God's face is hid 
from us. That which keeps good things from us, it is sin ; saith the 
prophet, * your sins separate between you and your God ; ' take away that 
now, take away sin that makes the separation, break down that partition 
wall, break down this distance between God and us, that keeps us from 
God, that we have not that access unto his presence, and keeps God from 
us, that there is not this free influence, as it were, of grace upon us. I say, 
take away that, and then a man is settled in all the other benefits, whatso- 
ever comes by communion with God. Therefore this is the first thing, that 
remission of sins pulls down the wall, and brings a man into com- 
munion with God. Now by communion with God we have all good, we 
have all in him, all from him. There is no good denied to man when 
God hath received him to favour, and God never denies his favour to a 
man when he hath forgiven him his sins ; for indeed that is the great act 
of his love, the great act of his favour and goodness, that he forgives sins 
to a man ; that is the first thing. 

2. Again, secondly', it will appear yet further, if you consider the cntlre- 
ness of Christ, his perfcctness. How perfect a Saviour he is in every way ! 
He is the head of the church, able to fill all his members, to fill the whole 
body, and therefore the church is called ' the fulness of Christ, that fills 
all in all, that fills all things,' Eph. i. 23. There would be some emptiness 
in a Christian if Christ should not fill the heart of man, fill the desires of 
the soul, if he should not also give something else with remission of sin. 
And therefore, 1 Cor. i. 30, saith the apostle, * He is made to us of God 
the Father, wisdom, righteousness, sauctification, and redemption.' He is 
an entire perfect Saviour every way ; he is made redemption to us ; he is 
made, besides that, righteousness to us ; besides that, he is made sauctifi- 
cation to us; besides that, he is made wisdom to us. Mark, if a man 
would have redemption, it is Christ; * B}' him we have redemption, even 
forgiveness of sins,' saith the text. Now a man that hath redemption in 
Christ, that hath forgiveness of sins, ho hath other things with it. He hath 
wisdom by Christ too, righteousness by Christ, and sauctification by Christ 
too. And so he hath everything, because he is an entire and perfect 
Saviour. And that is the second reason. 

3. There is a third reason, and that is this, it is taken from the chaining 
and tying of all the priviler/es of the new covenant toff ether. They are in- 
separably knit; they may be distinguished, but they are not divided; they 
are in the same subject. Where God gives one, he gives all ; and there- 

sin's antidote. 271 

fore, Kom. Tiii. 30, it is said, ' Whom he predestinated, them also he called ; 
and whom he called, them also he justified ; and whom he justified, them 
also he glorified.' They go all together. If a man be a justified person, 
he is eflfectually called too; if he be eftectually called, he was predestinated, 
and he shall be glorified. So that now there are many links in the chain, 
when all are joined together. If a man pull but one part of it, he takes 
all ; they all follow, they are all chained together. The privileges of the 
new covenant they are coupled together. In the new covenant God doth 
not say, I will do this or thus, and so speak of them disjunctively; he will 
.do one or another. I will give you a new heart, or I will forgive you your 
sins, or you shall be my people. He doth not do so ; but the new cove- 
nant delivers them coupled so, that they are linked together ; ' You shall 
be my people, and I will forgive you your sins, and I will give you a new 
heart,' &c., Ezek. xxxvi. 26. They are all joined together, and coupled 
together, and may not be divided asunder. If God give remission of sins, 
the rest goes with it, for they are coupled together in that grant, in the 
main grant; that is, in the covenant of grace itself. Thus then the point 
is opened and proved : I come to make some use of it. This is a point of 
great weight; the greatest work is to bring it home to the hearts of 

The first use we will make of it shall be for instruction and exhortation, 
and we will come after to comfort, and to resolve certain cases, if time 
serve. The cases are many, and rise from mistake of the covenant. 

Use 1. First, for exhortation and instruction, and that shall be to per- 
suade every one, if they would make themselves happy in the enjoyin» of 
all things that are good, what course they should take for it. Get this, 
their sins forgiven. Let that be the first thing. If a man would make all 
comfort sure to himself, let him make this sure first to himself, that his 
sins are forgiven him. Therefore I beseech you consider this, and take it 
to heart, that we may persuade you to get the knowledge of the remission 
of your sins. We persuade you not to anything that is impossible or un- 
necessary. It is a thing that may be had, and it is a thing that is neces- 
sary you should have, if you will have any good. Make this first sure to 
thyself, that thy sin is pardoned. 

I. I say, first, it is jjossible. It is that which the papists deny, and that 
which others question, and which natural reason is against ; and therefore, 
because it is a point of faith, the Scripture is more large in it, and we must 
be more express in clearing of it, to make it appear to you that it is pos- 
sible that a man may have the knowledge that his sins are forgiven him ; 
that he may not only conclude that sins are forgiven to some, or, it may 
be, I may hope that my sins shall be forgiven to me ; but he may conclude 
resolutely that my sins are forgiven me, and as truly and as certainly, and 
more certainly, than if an angel from heaven should tell a man so. A man 
would think when an angel shall come and tell Cornelius that his prayers 
and alms-deeds were accepted, there could be no certainer knowledge than 
that. When an angel shall come and tell Daniel that he was a man greatly 
beloved, there could not be more certainty of it by any means. All that 
Dives required was but that one might arise from the dead, that his brethren 
might certainly know the things in another world. But we will make it 
appear to you that there is a way to make it more certain to us than the 
•voice of any that should rise from the dead, or the report of an an^el. 
Men have been deluded by apparitions, and Satan may ti-ansform himself 
into an angel of light ; but this way of making it known to a man's self that 

272 sin's antidote. 

his sins arc forgiven cannot deceive him, as we shall now shew to you. 
But that there is such a certainty, 

(1.) First, Else how is it possible that the servants of God should have 
peace of conscience till a man may know that his sins are actually par- 
doned him '? But to settle a man's conscience in quiet and in peace there 
must be an act in the court of heaven ; and somewhat must be done in the 
court of conscience. Something Christ doth in heaven with God his 
Father, and something like that he doth in the heart of a man, he makes 
peace with God his Father for us. Now God is reconciled to a man ; then 
af^ain he doth by his Spirit give to a man the knowledge of this reconcilia-_ 
tion with God by clear evidences out of the word, and then a man is at 
rest, then a man is at peace, and therefore a man may know it. Suppose 
a malefactor had a pardon granted in the court, as long as he knows not of 
it, he is full of trouble still, when it is brought home to his chamber, to his 
lodcrinc, to the prison, or wheresoever he is, now he hath peace. The soul 
of a man is not at peace till the pardon be brought home to the consistory, 
to his chamber, to a man's own conscience. Now where there is one of 
these manifested evidently to him, that he may read it, and take notice of 
it, then he is at peace. Now it is possible for a man to have peace in this 
life: Rom. v. 1, ' Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through 
Jesus Christ.' It was not only Paul's case that he had peace with God, 
but it was the case of the believing llomans, and therefore he joins the rest 
with himself, 'We being justified by faith, have peace with God.' 

(2.) Again, it appears a man may know that his sius are pardoned by 
another thing, else how could a man pi-ay for the pardon of sin '? We are 
bound to pray for it ; but what we ask we must ask in faith, and waver 
not, James i. 5, and whatsoever you ask, believe it shall be granted, and 
it shall be done to you, Mark xi. 24. A man must pray in faith ; in pray- 
in" for the particular thing, faith applies it to a man's self, applies it to his 
own soul, not in a wavering, suspeusing, doubtful manner, but that upon 
knowledf^e : 'By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many.' 
There is a knowledge in faith ; that is, such a knowledge as is grounded 
upon divine revelation, upon the truth of the word, whereupon f\xith looks, 
which, when a man knows and applies, now he hath peace ; by this he 
knows that his sins are pardoned. 

(3.) Again, to what use else is the sacrament, if it be not to make known 
to a man the forgiveness of sins ? for that same giving to every particular 
man with the intent of it, to remember me, as Christ speaks, that which 
Christ did, as the end of it, that he died for sinners, and died for those 
particular sinners to whom he ofi'ereth himself, to whom he is given in the 
sacrament. All this is but to bring the knowledge and application of this 
forgiveness of sins to my own self. 

(4.) Again, other of God's servants have known the forgiveness of their 
sins, that'' their sins have been forgiven, why may not we also ? Doth the 
Spirit of God work diversely in the saints ? did he work one way in David 
and another way in us ? did he work one way in Paul and another way in 
us ? It will appear otherwise : Ps. xxxii. 5, ' I said, I will confess against 
myself my sins,' saith David ; ' and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.' 
David knew it was forgiven. 

Ay, may some man say, David did it by some extraordinary revelation. 

No, saith he ; ' for this shall every one that is godly seek to thee,' &c. 
For this shall 'every man;' it is every man's case as well as mine, and 
they shall seek it the same way that I have done, that they may obtain the 

sin's antidote. 273 

same mercy that I have found. And so the apostle Paul saith, I was a 
persecutor, and a blasphemer, and an oppressor, but I was received to 
mercy ; ' Paul knew he was received to mercy. 

Ay, but Paul might know it by some extraordinary revelation. 

Nay, saith the apostle for the comfort of those that shall believe here- 
after to eternal life, ' God hath shewed on me all long-suffering and patience 
for the comfort of those that hereafter shall believe to eternal life.' This 
mercy manifested to Paul was for the comfort of others of God's ser- 
vants that should afterward believe to eternal life. So it is not a thing 

II. Again, secondly, when we persuade you to the knowledge of the 
forgiveness of your sins, we persuade you to a thing that is as profitable as 
possible ; as it is possible to be had, so it is profitable, useful, and neces- 
sary for us. When a man will come and ask any mercy at God's hands, 
how shall he lay a foundation now of hope and faith, that he may speed 
with God in obtaining it, but in this first, that his sins are forgiven ? And 
therefore it was even David's course, whensoever he came to beg any great 
mercy at the hands of God, he begins with this confession of sins, to beg 
pardon for sins. So, Dan. ix. 4, when he comes to beg a mercy for the 
whole church at the time in those times of sorrow, what course doth he 
take ? First, he confesseth the sins of the church, he begs forgiveness of 
the sins of the church, as the great hindrances of mercy to the church. 
And therefore here is the thing, if a man would beg any good thing at the 
hands of God, begin here first, remove that which hinders. Till sin be 
done away, there will be hindrances of all our prayers. Every prayer is 
lost, whatsoever petition a man puts up, he shall never speed and obtain it 
till his sins be pardoned. Consider in the time of our Saviour Christ, 
whensoever he would bestow any special mercy upon men, — many came to 
him in several cases with several diseases, — the first speech of Christ is, 
• Thy sins are forgiven; ' when he healed their bodies and other particulars, 
or cast out devils, &c., it went along with this still, ' Thy sins are forgiven 
thee.' And therefore, of all things, it is most necessary that we may know 
how to speed in prayer, that we may know what right we have to come 
before God, and to make our requests known, that we know that our sins 
are forgiven and pardoned. 

Quest. But how may I know that ? Now I come to the main question, 
how a man may know that his sins are forgiven in particular. 

Ans. I answer. It is known by the testimony of the Spirit. That which 
they stand so much upon, which is extraordinary revelation, it is not need- 
ful for this business ; but yet a revelation from the Spirit is needful, and 
therefore it is called 'the Spirit of revelation,' Eph. i. 17; that is, the 
Spirit revealg to a man the things that are given him of God ; and the 
apostle proves strongly that any believer may know the rich privileges of 
the new covenant, because any beHever hath the Spirit ; as, 1 Cor. ii, 9, 
&c., * The things,' saith he, ' that eye hath not seen, that ear hath not 
heard, nor hath entered into the heart of man, are they that God hath laid 
up for those that love him.' What things are these? They are things 
that are laid up in heaven, though that be not denied; but the chief 
thing, the meaning there is, the great privileges that we have in the gospel, 
which God hath prepared for those that love him, and are laid up in the 
gospel ; as in a rich treasury, there they lie ; and therefore the promises are 
called 'precious promises,' because they contain these jewels and pearls, 
and these spiritual riches of a Christian in them. It is a rich cabinet that 

VOL. VII. 8 


hath rich jewels in it, so they are precious promises that have such precious 
mercies in them. Thus these are such things as 'eye hath not seen, nor 
ear hath heard,' Sec. 

Obj. But some man will say, If no man ever saw them, if no man ever 
knew them, how shall we ever get the knowledge of them ? 

Aus. But, saith the apostle, ' God hath revealed them to us by the Spirit.' 
The eye of man, that is, the natural eye of man, can never see them, the 
natural heart of man can never conceive them, &c., yet, nevertheless, God 
hath revealed them to us by his Spirit; and so he goes on, ver. 14, ' The 
natural man knows not the things of God, but the spiritual man discerns all 
things.' Why so? Because the Spirit of God, who now causeth the light 
of tiie gospel to shine in his heart, reveals to him those things, that with- 
oat that light can never be discovered or discerned by any man. 

Quest . But now the great question is, How the Spirit of God reveals to a 
man that his sins are pardoned in particular ? Every man will doubt of it. 
' The same Spirit bears witness with our spirits, that we are the sons 
of God,' Kom. viii. IG. So there is a witness of the Spirit with the spirit 
of a man in the heart and conscience of a man, that he is accepted in the 
sight of God. 

Quest. Oh, but now how doth the Spirit witness this ? and what is the 
testimony that the Spirit gives of this, or by what way gives he it ? 

Ans. I answer, briefly, by alluding to that expression that you shall find 
John xvi. 7, 8: *I will send,' saith Christ, 'the Holy Ghost. And when 
he is come he shall reprove the world; he shall convince the world of sin, 
of righteousness, and of judgment.' Ho shall convince the world, but of 
what shall he convince the world ? ' Of sin, of righteousness, and of judg- 
ment. Of sin, because they have not believed in me : of righteousness, 
because I go to the Father : and of judgment, because the prince of this 
world is judged.' I say I allude to that, for there is such a work in this 
business that now we have in hand, as there is in that convincing the 
world concerning Christ ; I say, there is such a work of the Spirit con- 
vincing a man ' of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment,' that he may 
reveal to him the pardon of his sins; there are certain works of the Spirit 
that we may express by these : 

1. First, I say, He convicts of sin. The Spirit that testifies to a man 
that his sins are pardoned him, doth it first by convincing a man of his 
sins. Now, you know, there is more in conviction than bare discovery. 
It is a full and thorough discovery of the thing ; and not only so, but an 
eff'ectual discovery, such as works upon the soul ; there is not only a light 
in the understanding, but some heat in the affection and in the will. 
Now, when the Spirit convinceth a man of sin, here is the first thing now 
whereby he knows that his sins are pardoned. You shall see this the 
better in the effects of it, and that is, 

(1.) First, It makes a man to see that there is no sweetness in sin; it 
makes a man to find that sin is the greatest burden, the greatest misery, 
of this life. For that which makes a man delight in sin, is because it is 
presented to him in false shapes ; but now when the Spirit of God comes 
to manifest sin, to discover sin in its own shape in the soul, and makes a 
man to look upon it in its own nature, as it is, then he finds it to be 
the most unprofitable burden that ever he bore in his life. Upon this 
comes that work upon the heart, which is that oppression of spirit, 
that a man comes laden and heavy burdened. You know this ever goes 
with forgiveness of sins : Mat. xi. 28, ' Come unto me, all ye that are 

sin's antidote. 275 

laden and heavy burdened, and I will ease you.' That if a man would be 
eased of his sins he must be laden and heavy burdened first, that is, he 
must find a need of ease ; and when he is laden and heavy burdened, that 
he may be assured he shall have ease if he come to Christ. That is the 
first effect. 

(2.) Secondly, There is another thing that goes along with this, that sin 
being discovered thus to a man, he comes to seek, above all things in the ivorld, 
to he rid and to be eased of it; as the apostle in that same 2 Cor. vii. 11 
saith, ' Behold, what clearing of yourselves,' &c. He will get to be free 
from it rather than his life. Now, there is no clearing of a guilty person 
but by confession ; for how shall a malefactor get to be cleared before the 
judge but by confessing his fault ? If he sue for mercy, it may be he 
may obtain "it; but if he stand out till it be proved against him, he will be 
cast. It fails with men many times, but it never fails with God ; and 
therefore saith David, ' I said, I will confess against myself my sin, and 
thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin,' Ps. xxxii. 5, 6. So it is said, 
* He that confesseth his sins, and forsakes them, shall find mercy,' Prov. 
xxviii. 13. 

(3.) But, thirdly, it is not a hare confession of sin, that may p-oceed from 
common hioidedge and illumination; but there goes more in it, and^ that is, 
there is a loathing and a detesting of it. By that the Lord describes the 
repentance of the people of Israel : Isa. xxx. 22, ' They shall defile the 
rich idols, and their apparel,' &c.; 'and shall cast them out, and shall 
say. Get you hence ; they shall cast them out as a filthy thing, as a thing 
that they" cannot endure to look on, and to have in their sight.' There is 
such a loathing of sin in the soul where God intends to forgive that sin. 

(4.) Fourthly, There is yet a fourth thing in this conviction of sin, and 
that is this, that all the care of a man is how he may free himself from the 
actual committing of sin, how he may set himself in a right state- again, 
how he may be right set ; as Gal. vi. 1, ' If any be fallen by infir- 
mity, you that are spiritual, set him in joint.' He is now like a man 
whose bones are out of joint, and he is in pain with it ; therefore^ all his 
care is how he may be set in joint again, how he may be set into the 
estate that he was in before ; for every time a man commits a sin, the soul 
is disordered by it, and a man is now much distempered. With that he 
is forward to commit other sins, he is backward to any good. And now 
the greatest care of a man is, when God hath thus fitted him by his con- 
viction, by this work of the Spirit convincing him of sin, how to get his 
sin off, and how to get his soul rid of it ; as Isa. i. 16, 18, ' Wash you, 
make you clean,' saith God; 'take away the evil of your works from 
before mine eyes ; cease to do evil, and learn to do well ; and then come 
and let us reason together : Though your sins were as crimson, they shall 
be as snow; though they be as scarlet, they shall be as wool.' He doth 
not mean that he would not at all forgive a man's sins till he have gotten 
such a victory over all his sins that he shall not at all commit any sin; 
but the meaning is thus. There should be in the soul such a contention, 
such a strife against sin, that it may appear that he endeavours nothing so 
much as to be rid of it. All his care is to be washed, to be made clean, 
and to have the evil of his works took from the eyes of God. Now, when 
a man sees the evil of sin, as it is contrary to God's holiness, and contrary 
to his word, and to his law, &c., seeing the evil of sin in himself, and the 
effects of it, he hates nothing so much, he strives against nothing so much, 
he desires not so much to be rid of anything as of sin ; that is the first thing. 

276 sin's antidote. 

2. But then, secondly, there is a conviction of ritjliteomness: 'He shall 
convince the world of righteousness ;' that is, that a man now, when God 
hath forgiven him his sins, he is to look up to seek after righteousness. 
And this is certain, that God forgives no man his sins but by Christ, and 
through Christ, and for Christ; and he draws the ej'e of the soul, and the 
bent and the inclination of the heart, towards Christ; that now a man sets 
a price upon him, he prizeth him above all things : he prizeth him in hia 
desire, till he may get assurance that he is his ; and after he prizeth him 
in his estimation, walking va. Christ, after he hath got assurance. There, 
I say, is the first thing then, he prizeth Christ before all things, he seeks 
nothing so much. You see the Lord works this disposition in the church 
in the Canticles, when the church had sinned by neglecting Christ ; and 
now he withdrew himself from her, what doth she do ? She comes and 
seeks him by the watchmen, and they smite her ; she comes to those that 
kept the tower, and they mock her ; she comes to the daughters of Jeru- 
salem, and they slight her husband, him whom her soul loves ; she goes 
on seeking still. This is the case of a Christian after relapse into sin, 
that he is not set again in his peace and comfort till he be made to prize 
Christ at an higher rate than before. So likewise he describes the church, 
Jer. 1. 4, thus seeking after Christ: 'They shall go weeping as they go; 
and shall seek the Lord God, and shall ask the way to Zion, with their 
faces thitherwards.' They shall go ; their end is to find out God, that 
God that was in covenant with them ; to find out God, and they shall go 
weeping, and their faces towards Zion. This is the disposition of the soul 
of that man whose sins shall be forgiven him ; he seeks nothing so much 
as Christ. 

Again, he prizeth Christ at so high a rate, having forgiveness, that he 
will not part with him. The church saith, ' If she could get Christ, she 
would keep him in the chamber of her mother that brought her forth.' 
And when she hath him, what is her desire ? ' Set me as a seal upon thy 
hand : for love is strong as death, and jealousy is cruel as the grave. 
Much water cannot quench love,' Cant. viii. 6, 7. She so loves Christ 
now, that she will never part with him again, but will continue with him 
for ever. So we see Mat. xiii. 44, ' The kingdom of heaven is like a 
treasure hid in a field ; which when a man hath found, he hides it, and 
for joy of it he departeth, sells all, and buys it.' When a man hath found 
Christ, and the benefit of remission of sins by Christ, there is nothing 
that shall answer Christ in the esteem of his soul. Thus faith works by 
love, love to Christ; as we see the apostle Paul, Philip, iii. 8, he accounts 
' all things as dung in comparison of Christ, that he might be found in 
him, not having his own righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ.' 
So then thus we see every way there is an high esteem of Christ, a seek- 
ing of him till he be found, and a keeping with him when a man hath 
gotten him, in prizing of Christ at a high rate, nothing in comparison of 
Christ ; this now is because he is convinced that there is a righteousness 
to be had in Christ, and a righteousness that can be had nowhere else but 
in Christ, and such a righteousness as can make him perfectly righteous. 
It is the great thing that he desires above all the world, and that is the 
second thing. The Spirit doth this ; as it draws, so it links a man to Christ. 

3. There is a third thing, the conviction of judfjment ; such judgment as 
wherein * the prince of this world is judged.' That a man falls now in 
condemning the motions of sin in his heart, and to condemn himself for 
the actions of sin before. That you may understand these things clearly, 

sin's antidote. 277 

(1.) First, I say, a man condemns the actions of sin he hath committed; 
he condemns them and himself for them. This disposition is in all those 
whom Christ receives to forgiveness, whom he forgives these sins. ' Thou 
shalt judge thyself worthy to be cut ofl',' saith God, * when I will be recon- 
ciled to thee,' Jer. xxxvi. 3. When God will be reconciled to his people, this 
is one thing, they shall judge themselves worthy to be cut off ; and therefore, 
1 Cor. xi. 31, 'if you would judge yourselves,' saith he, 'you should not 
be judged of the Lord.' So that this is that now which frees a man from 
the judgment of God ; when he begins with his own heart, and judgeth him- 
self for sin, he shall not be judged. It shall be judged once ; and if a man 
will not judge himself, God will judge him ; but if a man will judge himself, 
he shall not be judged of the Lord. Now, therefore, you have the convic- 
tion of judgment, when a man is now brought to judge himself, that is, 
to set himself against himself, as a judge sets himself against a malefactor : 
he arraigns him before him, he brings in evidence against him ; he lays 
upon him the sentence of the law, he condemns him, and takes order that 
execution be performed upon him. Thus it is when a man sets himself to 
judge himself: he arraigns himself, he sets himself to a serious considera- 
tion before the tribunal of Jesus Christ, who is the judge of the quick and 
the dead, to consider how the matter stands between God and him, and he 
brings in evidence against himself, the testimony of his own conscience, the 
witness of the law ; the books that shall be opened then are now opened 
to prevent that judgment. He looks upon the law, and it shews him 
what he should have done ; he looks upon his conscience, and that shews 
him what he hath done ; and, when he hath thus done, he comes to confess 
himself guilty ; he proceeds now upon this conviction to condemn himself, 
and to acknowledge that all the curses in the law are due to him, and he 
wonders that God should bear with such a one as he to live upon the face 
of the earth thus long ; he subscribes to the righteous judgment of God, if 
he should cast him into hell for his sins, for he judgeth himself worthy to 
be cut off ; he extenuateth not any sin, he lessens not any sin that he hath 
committed ; he desires nothing so much as to feel the weight of it in his 
heart, that he may indeed see the ugliness of sin more and more, and be 
brought to be more out of love with it ; and thanks any man that will help 
him to aggravate his sins to himself, and to see the ugliness of them. 
When he hath done thus, he comes to execution, that is, he comes to that 
revenge upon himself ; thei'e is an indignation against sin, and a revenge 
upon himself too, because of sin ; he judgeth himself unworthy of those 
liberties that he hath abused, and sometimes he ties and limits himself in 
those particulars, and denies himself of those things that by reason of his 
corruption he cannot tell how to use without sin ; or otherwise he takes 
revenge upon himself for particular ills. I say, thus a man judgeth him- 
self for his sins past. That is one thing. 

(2.) But now secondly, he judgeth the prince of this world, as ivell as him- 
self ; that as he judgeth himself for his actions, so he judgeth all the motions 
of sin in his heart : that for the present, if any motion be rising from his 
own corruption, di'awing him to a new act of evil, he judgeth and con- 
demneth the sin in his heart, and this is the very original, and the root of 
that conflict in his soul, this work of the Spirit, a conviction of judgment, 
that now hath made a man as a judge against himself ; and therefore now 
he sits as a judge doth, to prevent sin by all means ; he sets himself against 
the motions of sin, which was the case of the apostle Paul : Rom. vii. 19, 
• When I would do good, evil is present with me.' But what, doth he let 

278 sin's antidote. 

this go on ? No, he strives against it, that as the flesh histeth against the 
spirit, so the spirit lusteth against the flesh ; there is a seed, there is a 
work of grace striving to work out the corruption in his heart. This is in 
all the servants of God, in all those whom God bestows this mercy upon 
of the forgiveness of sins, to condemn the motions of sin, and therefore he 
sets against them. ' wretched man ! saith the apostle, ' who shall deliver 
me from this body of death ?' He calls for help as it were against the body 
of death ; he looks about to see if it be possible by any means to get it 
rooted out. When a man hath a thief gotten into his house, he calls for 
all his neighbours to help him, that he may take him there ; so there is a 
thief got into the soul, for now sin is not in his heart as a lord, but as a 
thief, and therefore he calls for help, that seeing it is gotten in, he may 
get it out again. But this, I say, beloved, is in all the servants of God 
that shall have remission of sins, there is this conviction of judgment ; that 
is, they are brought to this pass, that now they judge themselves and their 
sin, and condemn it in themselves. Now, upon this follows I'cformatioh 
and amendment of life, because they judge the prince of this world ; they 
judge all the works of Satan, and all the motions of sin in their hearts ; 
and therefore now they set themselves into a contrary way, to works of 
obedience, and amendment of life. So the promise is made that, 1 John 
i. 9, * If you walk in the light, as he is in the light, the blood of Christ shall 
cleanse you from all your sins.' Thus you see now how a man may know 
and prove that his sins are forgiven. Put all this together, and let every 
man now examine his own heart ; I know no man but would desire to par- 
take of the comfort of this doctrine ; and I told you already, there is great 
reason why every man should labour after it, to get the knowledge of this, 
that his sins are forgiven. We are yet but upon that point, how a man 
may know that his sins are forgiven. Now for this purpose, I say, consider 
what hath been said. It is a thing that is revealed to a man by the Spirit 
of God ; the Spirit of God doth manifest in the word those grounds 
and texts upon which a man may gain this assurance to his soul. Now 
look on this threefold conviction of the Spirit, whereby it manifests this 
work, conviction of sin, conviction of righteousness, and conviction of 
judgment, for they all go together in that heart whose sins are forgiven. I 
say conviction of sin : first, it makes a man see the loathsomeness of his 
sin, the ugliness of it ; it makes him account it a burden that he would 
fain be eased of it, and therefore heconfesseth it; therefore he sets against 
it with all his might, and therefore he loathes and detests it. That is the 
first thing. 

Now try yourselves by that, whether you yet apprehend your sins in that 
manner or no ; not for a man to say generally, I am a sinner, &c., and to send 
forth some few sighs, slight and short, to no purpose, in a cursory and 
formal manner, — as the manner of many is, — but it is another manner of 
work. And therefore, I beseech you, consider seriously what is that in- 
ward secret work of the Spirit upon the heart ; what effects it hath upon 
the affections of the soul, that is, upon the discovery of the filthiness of 
sin, to make a man weary of it, to loathe it, to hate it, to desire to be rid 
of it, to strive against it, to confess it, &c. 

Whither hath this consideration sent thee ? Hath it made thee to set a 
greater price upon Christ, and upon the gospel offering Christ unto thee ; 
such a prizing of him as that thou lettest all go to seek him, that is, thou 
seekest Christ above all things ; and if thou hast indeed gotten him, thou 
wilt not lose the comfort of him, but daily walk in him, that thy life is now 

sin's antidote. 279 

a living in Christ. I beseech you, consider this, the walking of a man that 
hath received Christ, in the Scripture, is called a walking in Christ: 'As 
you have received Christ, so walk in him ;' and the living of believers is 
said to be a living in Christ : * Now I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in 
me,' Gal. ii. 20; that is, in his whole life he lives to express the virtues 
of Christ ; express Christ in thy life. I beseech you, consider this, that the 
affections are now set wholly on Christ, and that a man now gives himself 
to Christ, as a servant to his Lord, to be commanded and to be guided by 
him. So that nothing now swaj'S in a man, nothing now carries him in 
his actions so as Christ shall, when he knows what is agreeable to the will 
of Christ, that shall most of all draw him to perform it. When he knows a 
thing is contrary to Christ, that shall make him set most of all against it. 

Besides this, when he hath done this, there is a conviction of judgment ; 
that now thou art the sharpest judger of thyself for thy sins past, and art 
the most watchful judger of the motions of sin present. This is thus in 
every one. I beseech you, take this home with you ; consider of it now 
in the preparation to the sacrament that you are to receive ; for the sacra- 
ment is a seal, as we shall shew you after, because it seals, as among other 
things, this, ' forgiveness of sins.' Now, that you may seal this comfort to 
yourselves, consider that the sacrament is a seal to none but to them that 
are sealed with the Spirit : ' In whom, after you believed, you were sealed 
with the Holy Spirit of promise,' Eph. i. 13. The Spirit, the inward seal, 
gives virtue to the sacrament, and to everything else that are seals of com- 
fort, and nothing can seal comfort to a man, but the Spirit within, that 
makes everything effectual for that purpose ; and therefore if the Spirit 
doth it, it doth it by this means ; consider of this, therefore, seriously. 
There be in this divers cases that should be answered for the further opening 
of it, and for the settling of weak-hearted Christians in a settled estate, 
and somewhat for the casting off of presumptuous persons that are in the 
height of their pride, that we may give every one their portion ; that the 
weakest may see against many particular temptations and doubts, that even 
his sins are forgiven ; and that the other should see that they had but a 
false plea, a false claim all this while to the pardon of sins, when they 
cannot make it good by the testimony of the Spirit. But the work would 
be very large, and I have been already more large than I intended. 


Whereto then shall I liken the men of this generation ? and what are they 
like .?— Luke VII. 31-35. 

Christ in the former verses had commended St John's ministry, and in 
the verse next going afore he speaketh of the different success it found in 
the publicans, from that it found in the pharisees, who rejected the counsel 
of God. Now in the verses following he shews what success his own 
ministry had amongst them, and thus he doth by way of comparison or 
parable. And this he brings by way of asking a question, which implies 
admiration* and indignation, both shewing a deep passion, as it is in Isa. : 
' What shall I do for my vineyard' ? Isa. v. 4 ; and this shews in general, 
that the refractory dispositio?i of man is a matter of indignation and of admira- 
tion, especially if we consider what it despiseth, and whom. 

First, They despise tlie ivord of God, the saving word, the counsel and 
wisdom of God ; nay, secondly, they despise God clothed in flesh, that was 
bom and died for their sakes, and thereby offers salvation to them, and 
life everlasting ; yet all this to the obdurate heart of man is as lightning 
that dazzleth the eyes and helps not the sight a whit ; and therefore, Isa. 
vi. 10, the prophet is bidden ' to make the heart of the people fat.' Go 
tell this people, hearing they shall not understand, &c. ; and therefore no 
marvel if God bears indignation against such. * Whereto shall I liken the 
men of this generation,' Luke vii. 31 ; this generation of vipers, that are 
worse than any of the generations fore-passed, by how much they have had 
more means to be better. 

Ver. 32. * They are like unto children sitting in the market-place, and 
calling one to another, and saying. We have piped to you, and you have 
not danced ; we have momiaed to you, and ye have not wept.' 

The comparison is to little children that, at marriages and times for 

* ' The Success of the Gospel ' forms the third of the four ' Sermons ' appended to 
'The Saints' Comforts' (See Vol. IV. page IGO). The title-page is as follows : — 
' The Svccesse of the Gospell. Shewing the diverse entertainements it hath in the 
World. In a Sermon Preached upon the 7. of Luke and 3L verse. By that Faith- 
full and Reverend Divine, R. Sibbes, D.D. and sometimes Preacher to the Honorable 
Societie of Grayes-Inne. Printed at London by Tho. Cotes and are to be Sold by 
Peter Cole. 1637.' It has distinct pagination, but does not appear to have been 
published by itself. 

t That is, ' wonder.'— G. 


feasting, piped and danced, and at funerals and times of mourning did 
mourn and use some fitting ceremony. Now there were some among them 
that were froward, and would neither be content with mourning nor piping, 
and playing, and to these Christ compares these great doctors; the scribes 
and pharisees ; a froward generation, neither pleased with Saint John's 
austere course of life, nor with Christ's affability and meek carriage, and 
thus he crosseth their proud, froward disposition. For the custom itself, 
for that it is only related, and no whit censured, therefore I forbear to 
speak further thereof, but come to the reddition* of the comparison. 

Ver. 33. * For John Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine ; 
and ye say, he hath a devil.' 

Ver. 34. The Son of man is come eating and drinking ; and ye say, 
Behold a gluttonous man, and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and 
sinners ! ' 

Where observe God's gracious dealing with man. He useth all kind 
of means, sendeth men of several natures, austere John, and meek Christ, 
and they use all means to convince the judgment, all methods to work upon 
the memories, all reasons to work upon the affections and wills. He turns 
himself into all shapes to gain wretched man unto him. 

Secondly, Observe the order God useth ; first, John, then Christ. John 
prepares the way, throwing down hills : ' ye generation of vipers,' Mat. 
iii. 7. Oh, say they, this man is too harsh, I think he hath a devil. Then 
Christ comes with blessed : * Blessed are the poor, blessed are you that 
weep,' &c., Mat. v. 8, seq. So he sent the law first, then the gospel; first 
he threatens, then promises. 

Thirdly, Observe that the manner of their teaching is double, by doctrine 
and life, and these agree, wherein observe it is good that life and doctrine 
should suit ; for John's life was austere and retired, his doctrine was 
also tending to beat down the proud conceits of man. Christ came to all, 
conversed with all meekly and lovingly ; and the reason of God's making 
use of men of severe dispositions is, because of the different natures of 
men, whereof some can better relish one nature than another. Some love 
the hot and fiery nature, others delight in the meek spirit ; and though 
there be diversity of gifts, yet they come from the same Spirit. Even as 
the diverse smells of flowers comes from the same influence, and the diverse 
sounds in the organs comes from the same breath, so doth the Spirit difluse 
itself diversely, as it meets with diverse natures. Yet all tendeth to the 
perfecting of one work. We may hence therefore gather, that to converse 
fruitfully and lovingly is to be preferred before austerity, and commendable 
above it, because it is the conversation of Christ himself. 

And the papists shall never be able to prove their foolish austere vows of 
a solitary life, &c.,to be preferred before communication and society, unless 
they will prove John better than Christ. And again, this should teach us 
to moderate our censures of the diverse natures and carriage of men, as 
knowing that God in wisdom hath appointed it for excellent use, and that 
all agree in the building up of the spiritual temple of the church. 

In the next place, observe that where grace doth not overpower nature, no 
means will 2^^'evail over the obdurate nature of man. Neither John nor 
Christ could work anything upon these Pharisees. Thus was it in the 
■wilderness and Egypt. What admirable wonders did God work, yet how 
incredulous and stifi-necked were they ! And the reason is, God gave not 
a heart, and in the conversion of a sinner there must be another manner of 
* That is, ' rendering,' or application. — G. 



grace than oiili/ ojTcrinrf and exhortation to accept of Christ; nay, tho Spirit 
itself must do more than exhort, for it may lay open to us many motives, 
tell us of God's goodness, truth, and strength sealed to us; it may tell us 
of wrath and judgment, and on the other side of kingdoms, everlasting 
joys, perfection of happiness, yet all not work any remorse in the heart of 
man if the Spirit leaves him there. And the reason is, man is dead in sin 
by nature, and that ' strong man' having gotten the possession, cannot be 
cast out but by the ' stronger man,' which must quicken and give power, 
that may change every part of the soul, the understanding, will, and afiec- 
tions, else all means is to no purpose but for to make us uncxcusable at 
the day of judgment. Hence therefore we niaij see the shallowness of those 
that conceive of the word of God, as if it did only jtersnade the will. No; it 
must alter the will and change it quite, else arguments are to no purpose ; 
and in the second place, it teacheth us to come to the ordinances with holy 
hearts, begging God's power to soften our hard and stony hearts, and 
desiring him to join the powerful work of his Holy Spirit with the outward 
means, and that his word may be like to that word at the beginning, that 
no sooner commanded light, but ' there was light.' 

And lastly, it teacheth us to conceive of the word, together with the good- 
ness and power thereof, witJi admiration and wonderment. 

In the next place, observe, from the calumniation of the scribes, that 
Tchellion and opposition against goodness is never ivithout sliow of reason ; and 
men they will never go to hell, but they have reason for it. They will 
countenance rebellion by defaming and scandalising the people of God ; and 
to that end they will be sure to take things with a strong hand. Austere 
John ' hath a devil ;' sociable Christ ' is a wine-bibber.' 

And the reason is, the pride of man, that will not be thought so foolish 
as to speak, or do anything without reason, and therefore when it is wanting 
they will feign one. In every calumniation they do so, and the calumnia- 
tion and scandal here was the greater, because it was raised by the scribes 
and pharisees, the great doctors and the wise rabbis, whose word must 
carry such credit with it, as alone to condemn Christ : ' We would not have 
brought him to thee were he not worthy of death,' Mat. xxvi. GG ; and 
whose life must be a rule to others : ' Doth any of the pharisees believe in 
him,' John vii. 48. 

For use therefore of this doctrine, let us account it no strange matter if we 
he traduced, disgraced, and scandalised, for it was Christ's and John's lot. 
Great slanders must be maintained from great men, such as them that sit 
in Moses's chair, the pharisees and scribes. John's holiness should have 
procured reverence, and Christ's sociableness should have been rewarded 
with love ; but it is the lot of them and all Christians : ' The disciple is 
not above his master,' Mat. x. 24. They may do well, but must look to 
hear ill. Wicked men when they learn to think well, they will learn to 
report well. 

Let us grieve at their estate, and comfort ourselves in Christ, who will 
maintain our cause. 

Thirdly, Be innocent as doves, and be ever doing good, that our lives may 
give them the lie, and stop others from giving credit to their malicious 

Fourthly, Let its look that ice approve ourselves to God, who shall judge 
us. Stand or fall to him, and pass* not for the judgment of man, and of 
such as shall be judged themselves. 

* Cf. Glossary, sub voce. — G. 



'' Lastly, Let us take heed ive take not a thlnrj in the ivronrj sense and of 
vain prejudice. Men are witty- to lay stumbling-blocks in their own way 
to heaven. This preacher is too strict, that too mild ; this too plain, that 
too poor. Like the children Christ speaks of here, nothing will please 
them : hence, in the last place, we may learn from the example of Christ, 
that it is not ill to speak ill of ill men, in case of apology and prevention 
of scandal ; for Christ's example doth warrant it. But to proceed. 
Ver. 35, * But wisdom is justified of all her children.' 
From the connection of these words with the former, by this word ' but,' 
we may observe, that is is the lot of GocVs truth to have diverse cntertainimnts 
in this u-orld. Some will be children of wisdom, and justify it ; others, as 
the Pharisees, will scandalise it ; and the reason is, from the diversity of 
men's natures in this world, wherein are contrary seeds f and contrary ser- 
vants to contrary kingdoms. Some will flock after Christ ; others wiU say, 
' he deceiveth the people,' John vii. 12. Yet as there is ' a generation of 
vipers,' so there is a generation of children belonging to the kingdom, that 
swim against the stream, like the stars that have a retrograde motion to 
the residue. But for the meaning of the words, by * wisdom' here is meant 
the doctrine of the gospel, not only as it is in books, but as it is in the 
ministry. And briefly the ways of God laid out in his ordinances, and 
taught by weak men, all this is understood in this word ' wisdom,' and this 
word 'justified,' that is approved and received ' of her children,' that is, of 
her followers, being such as wisdom begets to a new life. Li these words 
let us consider, first, that there is a doctrine which is wisdom ; and this 
teacheth what God intends to us, and we should return unto him. This 
reason will evince that God being so good unto man, he should have some 
thanks at his hands, and some acknowledgment of duty to him, by way of 
worship, which it is most fit God himself should institute; and the rule 
hereof, joined with practice, is that wisdom here meant, for there is diverse 
wisdoms : first, as it is in God, and so it is a depth unsearchable. ' Man 
knoweth not the price hereof,' Job xxviii. 13. Secondly, there is a wisdom 
communicated to Christ, who hath a twofold wisdom, infinite as God, and 
finite as man ; and a wisdom as he is God and man joined together ; and 
this is called wisdom of union. In the next place, there is a wisdom of 
vision, and this the saints and angels have in heaven, and we shall have 
hereafter; and there is a wisdom of revelation, which is revealed in the 
Scripture to us by the Spirit, and this is the wisdom meant in this place, 
as it is comprehended either in principles laid down in the gospel, or in 
conclusions inferred necessarily from them, or in our improvement of 
them, to the right and best end, which is God's glory and our salvation. 
This is wisdom ; and called so here by way of emphasis, shewing it is the 
only excellent wisdom, which will further appear in these respects. 

1. First, It doth arise from a higher leginning than all other wisdom 
whatever ; for it comes from God's goodness and mercy. 

2. Secondly, The matter. It is a deep mystery. Christ, God-man ; his 
nature, offices, and benefits. 

3. Thirdly, It is more powerful than all other wisdom ; for it transforms 
us. It makes us wise, and changes us from wicked, and makes us good. 

4. Fourthly, It is better than the law, which was a killing letter. This 

gives life. , t • a j j 

5. Furthermore, this wisdom is everlasting, and it is ancientest : mtended 
before the world was. It is also inviolable. God will change the course of 

* That is, ' wise ' = ingenious.— G. t C'f- Isa. Ixv, 23, with i. 4.— G. 


nature for his churcli's sake ; and sooner will he break covenant with the 
day and night than this covenant, which shall be for ever, Ps. xix. 9. 

6. The end of it is to bring us home to God, 1 John i. 3. 

This wisdom hath the same iiame with Christ, who is the Wisdom of the 
Father. He gives his power to the word ; and what reproach is done to 
it, he accounts it as done to himself. 

Use 1. This serves, therefore, to convince the atheists, who cannot choose 
but acknowledge there is a God, that it is fit the creatures should depend 
upon him, and shew it by way of service ; and that this service should be 
prescribed by God rather than by man. Let them know this is the wis- 
dom and the word of God. No word like it in the convincing power it 
hath in purity and holiness ; none so powerful to transform us from death 
to life, from nature unto grace. 

Use 2. Secondly, it serves to exhort us all to attend upon the commands 
of this ivisdom. Men are admired for their deep wisdom in policy, whereby 
they come to be great. This without grace is enmity to God ; and the 
devil dwells in the heads of such as makes honours, ambition, or pleasures 
their sole aim. The wisdom of arts and sciences goes beyond that, yet 
comes far short of this ; that being but temporary, and perishing with the 
things themselves, but this everlasting and eternal ; and indeed policy and 
civil learning at the most do but civilize and make men morally wise ; to 
which, if nothing else be adjoined, the life of such is but a smooth passage 
to hell. 

Use 3. Lastly, this should teach us to consider, magnify, and admire* at 
God's goodness, that hath given such a wisdom to us as this, to be a lantern 
to light our way in this dark world, and to be as manna to feed us, that 
we faint not in the way, till we attain to everlasting life. 

The second general thing is, that there are children of icisdom, and that 
the xvorld\ it is fruitful and able to beget ; for it hath the Spirit of God accom- 
panying it, which is fruitful. We see the sun and the rain beget herbs ; 
trades makes men tradesmen, and arts artists ; and shall we not think this 
wisdom should make men wise, and this trade make a man fitting for 
work ? Yes, verily. No wisdom hath this begetting and operative spirit 
but this ; for the law finds us dead, and leaves us dead. Again, this wis- 
dom is the arm of God to salvation. By it ' we are begotten to be sons of 
God ;' by it we are children ' made like to God,' holy, pure, heavenly, 
begotten to his image ; and therefore as children we ought ' to obey the 
word' in performance of all duties ; of prayer, hearing, reading. Further- 
more, in that we are scliohus in Christ's school, ivhich is wisdom itself, we 
may be said to be ' sons of wisdom,' as those were called the sons of the 
prophets that were disciples to them. Now our teacher is a mighty teacher. 
It is no matter for the dulness of the scholar, this teacher can put wit and 
capacity where none was formerly, Ps. cxix. 12. Moreover, if this were 
not thus, then it would come to pass, that there should bo a time when 
there would be no church ; that Christ should be a king without subjects, 
and likewise a doctor without scholars. 

1. From the doctrine we may observe, therefore, that those that follow the 
best rule, which is God's word, and intend the best end, which is their own 
salvation, these are the most icise, for they provide for the worst times, as 
the ant for winter ; and with the wise steward they provide themselves of 
friends, and like Joseph they lay up for dear years. These are wise that pro- 
cure shelter for themselves against all dangers, and are fruitful in doing good. 
* That is, ' wouder.'— G. t Q,^- ' word'?— Ed. 


2. And, in the second place, let this pe7-suade us to attend upon wisdom, be 
we who we will be, a publican, an extortioner, a persecuting Saul. This 
wisdom will * of stones raise children up unto Abraham,* Mat. iii. 9. 

3. In the next place, observe the children of wisdom do justifij it ; that is, 
they receive it, approve it, defend it, maintain it ; for it is fitting that 
children should stand for their mother, and take to heart any wrong that 
is done to her ; and therefore the child of wisdom privately believes it, and 
loves it ; and openly, if the truth or any ordinance of God or holiness of 
life be spoken against, he will defend and maintain it, yea, to the death ; 
for wisdom, though with the loss of all things, is rich enough. So Moses 
esteemed the rebukes of Christ more than the pleasures of a king's court, 
Heb. xi. 25. 

Quest. But must we maintain it, so as to speak for it always, and in all 
companies ? 

Ans. I answer, No, but when we are called to it. Wisdom dwells with 
the prudent ; and where it is, it will teach when to speak, and what, and 
in what manner. And the reasons of this observation are, first, it is fitting 
that God's children shoidd concur in judgment ivith God, who justifies his 
wisdom in his children,'' and admires his graces in them, *0 woman, great 
is thy faith,' Mat. xv. 38 ; as contrarily he doth admire the stubbornness 
of the heart of wicked men. Secondly, rvisdom in itself is justifiable; for it 
justifies itself; for it carries a justifying spirit with it. It hath a power 
able to change. In all estates it justifies itself ; in trouble and anguish it 
comforts. Yea, in death, when all other wisdom perisheth, this raiseth up. 
It is powerful above the power of nature. It pulls down the proud heart 
of man in prosperity. 

Quest. But it may be said, if it be thus, what need is there that the 
children of wisdom should justify it ? 

Ans. 1 answer, in respect of itself, it needs not our help to justify it ; 
but in regard of others, to draw them on to the loving and embracing thereof, 
and in respect of ourselves, to manifest the truth of grace in us. 

The church also justifies it by proposing it, and declaring the goodness 
thereof by defending it and commending it. Yet is it not above the Scrip- 
tures, no more than we are above the truth of God, when we are said to 
* seal it.' Children we are of the truth, and desire to be ruled by it, not to 
judge it, and all children agree herein to justify it, as it is said here, ' Wis- 
dom is justified of all her children.' Though there be of divers countries, 
of divers nations and natures, yet all agree in commending and embracinc 
this wisdom ; and thereby are they known to be children of wisdom, for 
hereby may we know what estate ire are in, even by our carriage of ourselves 
towards unsdom. How many, professing to be the children of wisdom, do 
notwithstanding condemn it. Diverse abroad, whom wisdom shall not judge, 
but they will judge wisdom, and are indeed the children of human tradition. 
And among ourselves, are there not many that reject the ordinance of God ? 
Is not, say they, reading of good books at home as good as going to church ? 
Do not such confess that the rivers of Damascus are as good as Jordan ; 
whenas, if ever we come from this spiritual Egypt into the land of promise, 
we must go over this Jordan. We must come to heaven by the foolishness 
of preaching. 

Again, are there not many, because they see there is diversities of religions, 
they will be of none, till it be decided which is the truth, and this is the way 
to die in no religion. These are bastards. They cannot be children of 
wisdom, for they know it not ; as likewise they are such that justify 


ignorance, making it the mother of devotion (a). They profess they are the 
children of irmorance and error, and not of wisdom. Another sort there 
are that in ironl justify tiisdom, saying it is the ^Yord of God, but in their 
life and conversation do deny it. Let such know, he that Hves against the 
faith shall be damned, as well as he that believes against it. Good meat 
is commended more by eating and cheering than by talking. If such did 
truly believe the wisdom of God, it would purify them ; and not to believe 
is madness ; but to live so as if they believed not is desperate madness. 
The sinner denies God's presence, the covetous man denies God's provi- 
dence, the despairing man denies God's mercy and Christ's merits, the 
sinner a^^ainst conscience denies God's justice, else the terror of the Lord 
would m'ove him. Yet if we see these things in us, and allow not of them, 
but condemn ourselves for them, God will be merciful and spare us. 

This should encourage us, in the next place, to proceed on in a resolute 
course of Christianity. What though the wicked world laugh at us, and 
scorn us, God the Judge justifies us, his children justify us. As for other 
men, the Scripture calls them fools, for God hath given them over to a 
reprobate judgment in things that concern a godly life, and therefore if we 
be censured by such, let us account it our crown. 

Moreover, this is a ground of exhortation, to move us to this duty of jus- 
tifyiny the ordinances and icays of God in life and conversation. Justify 
Christ to be our Saviour by relying on him, and let the justified soul justify 
him to the world by repairing to him and depending on him. Justify God 
to be our Father, by repairing to him in all estates. Justify truth to be 
the best riches, by "esteeming all other wisdoms dross and dung in com- 
parison ; and let us admire the goodness of wisdom, else wisdom will not 
lod^e with us. Let it rule in our hearts, and it will abide with us ; else it 
is a^stranf^er, and will not tarry. In our days the voice of wisdom is heard. 
It uses ail means. It hath sent men of all manner of conversations and 
gifts. Of all others, we are inexcusable if we entertain it not, and justify 
it not in our lives and conversations. 

But it will be asked. How shall we justify wisdom ? 

I answer. Let ns strive first to empty ourselves and souls of corruption. As 
a vessel full of bad liquor must be emptied before good can be put in, so 
w^e by nature are full of folly, and must empty ourselves before we can be 
enabled to justify wisdom ; and in what proportion this folly is overruled 
in us, in the same proportion do we justify wisdom ; for where wisdom is, 
it must dwell largely and purely ; for itself is pure, and will endure no mix- 
ture. And therefore those that justify themselves in any ill course cannot 
justify wisdom ; for when it once comes to cross him in his beloved course, 
let his w^ords be never so good, his folly will discover itself. ' How can 
you believe, when you seek for glory one of another ?' saith Christ, John 

V. 44. 

Secondly, Bey of God that he would take away the veil of our hearts, that 
u'e may know and love the best thinys in the best inanner ; that he would open 
to us the wonders of his law. 

Thirdly, Labour that all our knoidedye may be spiritual, for if it be acquired 
out of books, and not written in our hearts, in time of temptation we shall 
never justify wisdom. This is evident out of the history of the martyrs. 
Many illiterate men stood out stiffly for the truth, and justified it with their 
blood, when many great clerks* gave over their profession; for when the 
Spirit teaches, it teaches to obey, to want, to abound, and to despise the 
* That is, ' learned men.' — G. 


glory of the world. Spiritual wisdom brings humility, other wisdom puffs 
men up with pride. 

Fourthly, Therefore we should 2'>fny for the Spirit of God, that it would 
settle and seal truths into our hearts, and teach us to obey and practise 
the things it enjoins us. 

Fifthly, We should also condemn ourselves, and grow poor in sjnrit ; for 
what justifying is there like to that of those that, being abased by outward 
afflictions, are likewise inwardly humbled ; so, condemning themselves, they 
justify God's wisdom ; and therefore those that either trust to intercession 
of saints or their merits, in vain they think ever to come to the perfor- 
mance of this duty. 

^\x\Xi\y, Attend ivo on ivisdom ; for what is more excellent than it, and 
without it all are fools. Wise they may be for the world to get riches, 
while their end is condemnation and perpetual beggary in hell. Many are 
wise to get high places here, and witty* to get a deep place in hell. They 
study for wisdom in the creatures, and when they die, their wisdom perishsth 
with them, and they want that true wisdom that should support them in 

Seventhly, And endeavour ive to be rooted in it, that we may be able to 
speak out of the power thereof in our souls, and to resist the temptations 
of Satan, with sound resolutions against them ; and then when that day of 
revelation of all things shall come, Christ will own us, and justify us, when 
the children of this world shall tremble to hear that truth and wisdom 
condemn them perpetually, which here they hated and slandered. 

Lastly, In all our wants and distresses, so carry ive ourselves that we may 
shew we have a Father to jyrovide, a King to defend us in our desertions, that 
we have a Priest in heaven to make our peace, and in all temptations that 
we have a Prophet that will direct us in the right way unto heaven, in 
spite of the malice of hell itself. 

* That is, 'wise, ' = ingenious. — G. 


(a) P. 286. — 'Ignorance . . . the motlier of devotion.' "Kiis subsequently famous 
or infamous phrase was perhaps first used hy Dr Cole in the great Disputation held 
at Westminster. Cole was an out-and-out defender of Popery. G. 

MARYS choice; 

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and 
a certain woman, named Martha, received him into her house, d'c. — Luke 
X. 38-40. 

This history is absolute of itself. Christ having despatched business else- 
where, .went from place to place to do good, it being his whole aim and 
office. And now divine providence and holy love directs him to these two 
women, who formerly had entertained him in heart, and now in their 
house ; yet did he feast them more liberally than they could him. And 
yet so studious they were in his entertainment, that they fall out in a 
manner about it. Mary she sat at Jesus's feet, knowing his custom, that 
his lips did ever drop down sweet- smelling myrrh in his gracious words, 
as it is Cant. v. 13; and therefore she forgat all other things. But to 
come to some observations. 

First, From the coming of Christ to these women observe, that where 
God hath bcv/un grace, he iriU not discontinue, but will he perfecting of it till 
the dag of the Lord; directing by his providence continually for their good, 
and sending his servants the prophets to that end ; for God's providence 
extendeth to the lea|t things, even to the hairs of our head, and to spar- 
rows, Mat. X. 29. The use is to teach us to endeavour to be fruitful in 
communion one icith another, if we profess to be led by the same Spirit 
that Christ is guided with. The lips of the righteous are pleasant, and 
their tongues are refined silver. Sometimes the sin of man makes instruc- 
tion unseasonable, and to swine it is pity to cast pearls. Mat. vii. 6. And 
many times men are deluded with a vain despair of not pro/iti)tg by their 
speech, when no doubt if they did but trust on God in performing such 
duties, their exhortations or admonitions would take more efiiect than they 

* ' Mary's Choice' forms the last of the four ' Sermons' appended to ' The Saint's 
Comforts' (see Vol. VI. page 160). Its title-page is as follows: — 'Maries Choise. 
Wherein is laid down some directions how to choose the better part. Comforts for 
them that have chosen it. Signos whereby we may know we have chosen the better 
part. By that Faithfull and Reverend Divine, R. Sibbes, D.D. and sometimes 
Preacher to the Honorable Societie of Grayes-Inne. Printed at London by Tho. 
Cotes and are to be sold by Peler Cole. 1G37.' It has distinct pagination, but does 
not appear to have been published separately. Henry Smith has a fine sermon from 
the same text and under the same title. Cf. ' Sermons,' 4to, 1G75, pp. 149-157 of 
second division of the volume. — G. 

Mary's choice. 289 

look for, as oftentimes it falls out ; for in man tliere is naturally a desire 
of good and profit. Sometimes a spirit of dnjuess jwsseasetli good men. 
Christ had the fulness of the Spirit without measure, men have it accord- 
ing to their measure ; and so through multitudes of occasions and busi- 
nesses are overcome with a dryness, so as they can distil no grace as they 

Against these %ve should study and consider beforehand what occasions we 
are most like to meet with; and study discourse fit for such occasions 
which we may best profit by. Study for sufiiciency, that we may be like 
full clouds, or as paps that do pain themselves with fulness, till they be 
eased of their milk. 

Secondly, And lament over our deadness, and beg spiritual influence, that 
may make us willing. 

Thirdly, And let all take Christ's example for a pattern, to draw others to 
heaven, and to be ever busied in our calling. 

Fourthly, And we should also imitate Mary; be wise to draw from other 
men, when they are not disposed to enlarge themselves. The wise man 
saith he is a fool that regards not the price in the hand of the wise. 
There is none but excels in one gift or other; and it is part of the 
honour due to such to take notice of them, and to make use of them; and 
it is unthankfulness to let such persons go without regard of those gifts. 
Many no doubt are dead, and their gifts with them, which had men been 
wise might have saved others much labour and increased knowledge much, 
if they had been displayed to others. Furthermore, it is said that Mary 
sat at Jesus's feet, implying her composed and settled demeanour, which 
helps to a quiet mind and attentive heart ; ' but the eyes of a fool are in 
the corners of the world,' Prov. xvii. 24, which hinders attention. But 
Martha was troubled about serving. Mark as in this good woman, so in 
many of her sex, goodness troubled with passion. She chides with Mary. 
The grounds of it in her were either a mistaking of Christ's disposition, 
whom she thought looked for much entertainment ; though she was therein 
much deceived, for that Christ came to feast them, not to feast with them. 
And for this she is gently rebuked of Christ, as if he would have told her 
that it eoneerned the glory of Grod more nearly to receive and take notice 
of his diffused mercies ; and Grod requires it rather than performance of any 
outward duty of love to him. But for the words. 

Verse 41, 'And Jesus answered, and said unto her, Martha, Martha.' 

These and the ensuing words contain, first, a reproof of Martha; 
secondly, an instruction of her; thirdly, a justification of Mary, with the 
reason thereof. In the reproof of Martha, consider the compellation, 
wherein observe the ingemination,* ' Martha, Martha.' It implies love 
that Christ bare to her. He calls her gently by her own name. Christ 
saw in her good mixed with ill, and therefore is not over- sharp or bitter to 
her. It implies also seriousness; and therefore Christ doubles her name, 
even as Pharaoh's dreams. Two aiming at one end argueth the thing is 
sure ; and as ' Lord, Lord ' in prayer argues vehemency, so he reproved 
Martha for her inconsiderateness, and brought her thereby more seriously 
to ponder what she did. And Christ's example should be a rule to us, 
namely, in our reproofs, to imitate him who had all the parts of a good 

And, frst, we should be sure to reprove out of love to the party, else the 
proud nature of man will not endure it. 

* That is, reduplication. Cf. Kichardson sub voce. — G. 


290 Mary's choice, 

Secondhj, It must be done in wisdom; first advise, then speak, else shame 
will return on us, and the other will be hardened. 

Thirdhj, It must be with liberti/ of speech. We must conceal nothing ; 
and thus disposed was Christ. In him was the fountain of love and the 
treasures of wisdom ; nay, he was wisdom itself, and he took liberty of 
speech. Though he was entertained, he doth not therefore sell his 
liberty; and though we say he that receives a benefit sells his liberty, 
but it was not so with Christ. Some there are if they give entertainment 
to a minister, they think they are bound to silence, and not to tell them 
of anything they see amiss in them; and therefore it was St Paul's wisdom 
not to take the oflered kindness of the Corinthians, 2 Cor. xii. 14, seq., 
lest he should be engaged to them. These things should be precedents to 
us, that we should be friends upon no other terms than to speak what is 
for their good; for some proud persons there are that think none friends 
but flatterers. Let us take heed of base engagements to sueh ; for Balak 
will engage Balaam with gifts, if he can win him no other w^ay to his 
humour. And it is reason that we should maintain this liberty of speech, 
for friends suffer disgrace for the folly of their friends. He that keeps 
company with adulterers shall be defamed, and therefore it is reason a man 
should have liberty of speech to reprove such. 

* Thou art careful and troubled about many things.' 

Not that Christ mislikes domestical business and hospitality; but by this 
Christ shews his pity of his* troublesome cares and distractions, which might 
have been passed over with far less burden to her, and hereby therefore he 
took occasion to heal her error in judgment, who thought Christ came to be 
feasted when he came to feast them ; as also that he might free her from 
that hard opinion that she began to carry towards Mary her sister, whom 
she thought either negligent or proud in not helping her. It is therefore 
a ground to be supposed, that hospitality becomes both men and women. 
It is a part of that calling God commits to us, and it is commended to us 
from the example of Abraham, and the event of it, that he thereby enter- 
tained angels into his' house, Heb. siii. 2 ; and in this place it is implied 
under the words care and trouble, as if he had said. Thou dost trouble thy- 
self too much, and more than there is need, giving us this lesson, 

Doct. That in things that are lawful excess is easy in holy persons, for 
what more lawful than a calling ? What more commendable than hospi- 
tality ? Yet in this Martha is too much troubled. 

The reason is, because there is little or no fear of sin ; and where there is 
least fear there is most error ; and security breeds neglect, and therefore it 
is the common plea, for excess in recreations and apparel, is it not lawful ? 
Yes; who denies it? But is there not a mean? Nay, in their calling 
here may be exccssj for there must be measure observed in them, and that 
is the reason no doubt. 

And ac^ain, in laxiful things defect in any one circnmstance makes the thing 
ill, though in itself never so good, and therefore reformation of the state is 
good, but not by private persons. So here hospitality is good, but not 
when we should be hearing Christ speak. To a good action there is 
required not only) .tl^ai'.tite Hi^^.ure of it be good, but that it be well done in 
every \;ircumstance, for, failing '^nany, one piakes it vicious. 

Use. And therefore we should nave a jnincipal watch over our affections, and 
that in lawful things ; for good me^anings do not always justify actions. Christ 
vas crucified, and the martyrs burnt ; and the actors in it thought they did 

* Qu. ' her ' ?— En.' 

maey's choice. 291 

God good service, and shall this excuse ? Peter bad a good intent when he 
would have persuaded Christ from going to Jerusalem, yet received no better 
thanks than ' Get thee behind me, Satan,' Mat. xvi. 23. Therefore let us 
look in all our actions, how lawful soever they be, in the matter. It is 
not enough, but they must be lawfully done, according to the rule of the 
word of God, else it is sin to the doer, whate'er his intent be. 

In the next place observe from the translation of the words, which is 
more exactly thus : ' Thou troublest thyself (a), and true it is, that we 
bring upon ourselves oftentimes more trouble than God lays on us ; and those 
that have lived any long time, if they advisedly consider of their labours 
past they shall find they may thank themselves for most of it; and in truth, 
without God's Spirit, we are self-tormentors, and our error is double in 
this kind ; for either we pull too great burdens on us, or they being laid on, 
us, we make them too grievous to be borne bg our careless laying them on us, or 
bg our unhandsome and unseemlg carriage under them, as it is in ordinary 
burdens. Those that are skilful can carry a burden with a great deal less 
pain than another man can that wants skill, though it may be he be the 

Secondly, And another reason hereof is in our froward pettish natures. 
An unmortified nature is like a sore, everything pierces to the quick, besides 
that it vexeth itself. 

Thirdly, And this is caused partly bg too much passion in us, and partly by 
want of judgment, and Ignorance or not remembering the end and Issue of them. 
Where these causes are, there cannot choose but be such effects. In the 
darkness everything scares us. 

Use 1. Therefore let us take heed of this Infirmltg and never excuse It, say- 
ing, men need not care for me, I trouble none but myself; for thou sinnest 
against God, and thou art a sinner against the sixth commandment by self- 
murder in troubling thyself as well as by troubling others. 

Use 2. Secondly, Let ms not be over much troubled at troubles. Poor souls 
are much ti'oubled this way. If they find but a little dulness of spirit, 
then they conclude they want grace, they are none of God's children. 

Censure not tjourselves, nor vex not yourselves. It made Jonah almost 
quarrel with God ; and patient Job complain of his mother, of the day, of 
the night. Alas ! what hurt did they him. And if we see others in this 
estate of censuring, vexing, or troubling themselves, censure not them rashly. 
The children of God are not always alike, nor always in tune ; for a calm 
mind is a grace that God gives according to his good will and pleasure, and 
it ebbs and flows as he pleaseth. But to proceed ; in the next place, observe 
that the things of this life, meeting with a nature not mortified, are subject to 
trouble it, and the reason is, they are inferior in themselves, empty and 
vain, giving no content, but bringing vexation, and are subject to mutabi- 
lity, and therefore not able to give the soul content, being of an higher 
nature, and more constant enduring, and therefore requires comforts and 
contents suitable, which these things, not able to afi'ord, when they fail, as 
ever they do, the soul is vexed and offended. 

For use thereof we should take notice of the nature of these things, and 
take heed of fii^liMvaig (SiunxaTg, troubhng ourselves about the things of this 
life. For it divides and weakens the soul ; and the dividing of a river must 
weaken the force of the streams ; and so Cyrus diverted the streams of 
Euphrates, and thereby took Babylon.* And the soul, when intent upon 
one thing, though then it be strong, yet being turned to many things, is 
* Cf. note a, Vol. II. p. 248.— G. 

292 Mary's choice. 

much weakened, and the forces thereof scattered. And therefore we should 
meddle only with things that concern us, and so much with them as is fitting. 

Yer. 42, ' But one thing is needful.' Christ doth not only reprove, hut 
he doth instruct. He shews the disease and the remedy, to shew his love, 
and that his mind was not to gall or vex, but to heal and make peace. And 
this he doth by way of information, telling her these businesses are full of 
trouble, and not necessary, and therefore she was not to spend herself in 
them, but turn her to that'one thing which is necessary, which is to commioii- 
cate with God in the vse of all sanctified means of r/race. It is necessary to 
come out of our natural estate, and to be settled further into communion 
with God ; and because holy means discovers our misery, opens a remedy, 
works grace in us to lay hold on Christ, therefore it is necessary also to 
attend on the means. 

Quest. But it may be asked. What, are not meats and drinks, clothes and 
government in a commonwealth, are not these necessary ? Wherefore 
serve callings ? Nay, this whole life is a life of necessities, how then is 
there but one thing necessary ? 

Ans. I answer, It is true these things are necessary in their compass 
and sphere, for this present life, but this life itself is nothing without a 
better being, and we had better not be than be and not be translated hereafter 
to a better life, and therefore Christ applies himself to these means, as to 
that which conducteth us to that better life, which is only absolutely 

(Jhj. But, it may be urged, is not Christ's righteousness, faith, God's 
Spirit, more than one ; and yet are they not all necessary ? 

Ans. I answer, though they be diverse, yet they run all to one end. 
Even as many links make one chain, so all these tend to make a man one, 
that is a Christian ; and therefore a wise soul considers them as one thing, 
and runs over them all at one view. He considers the word and the Spirit 
as that which, by working faith in him, brings him to Christ, who brings 
him to eternal glory ; and therefore he doth not hear, to hear, but to bo 
renewed inwardly, and so to have communion with Christ, and to attain to 
salvation ; and therefore the word is called the kingdom of God, the word 
of reconciliation, of grace, of the kingdom, for by it we are conducted 
thither ; and therefore. Acts xiii. 46, they that did neglect the gospel, 
which was the power of God to eternal life, are said to neglect eternal life. 
' And therefore if we will ever profit by holy means,' consider them as chained 
to salvation ; hear the word, and with it receive the Spirit, and with it 
faith, with it Christ, with him heaven and happiness. This is the one 
necessary thing, others are but accessary, and so we should esteem them. 
What is skill in reasoning, and not to bo able to know the subtle sophistiy 
of Satan ? And to what purpose is skill in healing of sickness of the body, 
and to have a soul sick to the death ? Tongues* are but the shell of 
knowledge ; what good will deep skill in the law do us, if we be not able 
to make our title to salvation sure ? What profit in ending controversies 
if we be not able to answer Satan's accusations and quarrels that he picks 
with us ? And the reason is, all these are but for this life, short and un- 
certain. It would make the best of us ashamed, if we did but consider 
how little we live to God, or our own comfort, knowing many impertinent f 
things, and yet are ignorant of this our only main thing, and die before 
we live as we should. But, for the avoiding hereof, let us carefully observe 
these directions. 
* That is, ' languages,' = learniDg. — G. t That is, ' things not pertinent.'— G. 

mary's choice. 293 

And first, Consider in evenjlhinr/ what reference it hath to this one thinc^, 
what reference it liath to grace and glory. So long as we neglect this, the 
devil cares not what we have, whither we go, in what company we are ; all 
is one to him. 

Secondly, Carry ourselves respectireJy according to the necessity of the thinys 
that we are to he busied about, whereof some are more, some less necessary, 
according as they have more or less good in them. Those that cannot 
stand with this main one thing, cut them off, for other things that are 
necessarily required for our well-being in this life, as our daily bread, our 
callings in these, and the like. 

Thirdly, Take heed of faithless cares, and bey ivisdom to despatch business so 
as they jjrejudice not tJie main, and look still how they aim at the main end. 
As travellers and warriors do unburden themselves of things less necessary, 
so let us take heed of entangling ourselves in the cares of this life, 2 Tim. 
ii. 4. The covetous man labours for riches, others for pleasures, that they 
may live sensually, wherein they never can come to the degree of that 
happiness that brutish creatures do, that have them without care and enjoy 
them without fear ; but for a Christian this is the whole, ' to fear God and 
keep his commandments,' Eccles. xii. 13. 

Fourthly, In all business we should observe what the main end is, and labour 
to direct them to that main end. In baptism, the one thing there, is the 
covenant ; in funerals, the one thing is a work of charity, to commit the 
dead body to the ground. Yet in these and such like things, all the time 
is taken up in ceremonious preparations. In our buildings and dwellings 
we look for good air, good soil, good neighbours, but where is the main ? 
Who inquireth what minister have we ? What means of salvation ? Tush ! 
this enters not into their thoughts ; and thus do they invert God's order. 
So, in bringing up of children, men look to teach them to read and to be 
fit for the course of life they intend they shall follow, and how to leave 
them enough to make them rich and great ; but who desires and endeavours 
to have the image of God engraven in their hearts, and to provide an 
eternal inheritance for them. 

Fifthly, Every morniny we should consider what is most necessary for the 
day. Have we renewed our covenant with God and renewed our repent- 
ance ? Have we armed ourselves by prayer against all occasions of 
temptations, and provided to avoid such as are likely to meet with us ? 
Alas ! how few trouble themselves this way. ' What shall we eat, drink, 
how shall we spend the time ?' These things take up the minds of most ; 
how to uphold a short troublesome life. And yet all their care cannot 
add one inch to their stature, or change the colour of a hair. ' But seek 
thou the kingdom of God and his righteousness,' this one thing, ' and all 
other shall be added,' Mat. vi. 33. 

' And Mary hath chosen the better part,' and yet censured we see by 
Mary's example. It is the lot of God's children sometimes to undergo the 
censures of those that are good, for their forwardness ; and thus did David's 
brethren censure David : ' We know the pride of thine heart ; thou art 
come down to see the battle,' 1 Sam. xvii. 28. But let us be comforted, 
for as it often falls out that we suff'er rebuke with Mary, so we shall have 
Christ to justify us as she had ; and therefore, 

Use. Let us resolve with Saint Paul not to pass for the censure of man, 
but remember that day when God will justify those that are his. Here 
we pass through a hidden eclipsed glory, but the time will come that we 
shall be approved ; and it shall appear then what we are. Let us learn 



innocency, that though wc undergo their censure yet we may not justly 
deserve it, and then whatever men do deem of us, we should he encouraged 
to bear it, in regard our witness is in heaven, in our own hearts, and in the 
hearts and spirits of good men. 

But to i^roceed : Christ takes Maiy's part, and justifies Mary's choice to 
be the best ; in handling whereof we will lay down, in the first place, some 
grounds that I will go upon, as first that tJtere are diversity of parts, and 
dirersiti/ of ranks of good tJiinr/s ; and of these some concern this life, some 
concern the other life ; and of either of these God gives to some more, to 
others less. Some have the goods of this life in plenty, others are endued 
with the gifts fitting them for a better life, and thus God sets forth his free 
rule over all creatures, and his free liberty to dispose them as he thinks 
best ; and God exercises his children in the use of all sorts of things, and 
in discerning of things that difter. 

A second ground is that there is a spirit of discretion planted in man, 
to discern of the difference of things, and this he is enabled to by the v?ord 
especially, for man hath not this wisdom of himself. 

Thirdly, The best things in our minds must challenge the chiefest choice and 
first j)lace in aUoicing them, then trying them, and lastly choosing them. The 
good part here meant is grace and glory. This is that which Mary chose, to hear 
Christ speak for the strengthening of the graces in her, and that thereby she 
might assure her salvation to herself; and grace is good, because it makes 
us good. Outward things are snares, and makes us worse, but grace com- 
mends us to God. All other things are temporal, and death buries them, 
but grace and glory ai-e in extent equal to our souls, extending to all eter- 
nity. Grace and the fruits thereof is our own ; all other things are not 
ours. Grace brings us to the greatest good, and advanceth us to the 
true nobility of sons and heirs of God, and grace makes us truly wise. 
It makes us wise to salvation ; it makes ns truly rich with such riches as we 
cannot lose. Grace is so good, it makes ill things good, so as afflictions with 
the word and grace are better than all the pleasures in Pharaoh's court in 
Moses's esteem, Heb. xi. 25. Seeing it is thus, let us he animated by this 
example of Mary ; and to that end, first, beg the Spirit of revelation to open 
our eyes to see the high prize of our calling, the happiness thereof ; and to 
get a sense and taste of the pleasures thereof, that w'e may judge by our 
own experience. For the meanest Christian out of experience knows this 
to be the good part ; and this it is which the apostle prays for, Philip i. 10, 
that the Philippians may approve the things that are excellent. The word 
signifies in all sense and feeling, to approve the things that arc excellent, 
or do differ (/>). 

Secondly, Let us endeavour to balance things, by laying and comparing 
them together. For comparison gives lustre ; and thus shall we see the dif- 
ference and the excellency of some things above others, and the sooner be 
able to choose. Thus did David ; and the eilect thereof was this, * I have 
seen an end of all created perfection, but thy commandments are exceeding 
broad or large,' Ps. cxix. 96. 

Thirdly, Labour for spiritual discretion to discern of j)nrticulars. This is 
as it were the steward to all actions, teaching what to cut ofl", what to add. 
In all particular aflairs of this life, what time and what place fitteth best, 
tells what company, what life, what way is the best. And when we have 
done this, 

Fourthly, Proceed on and make this choice. If we do not choose it only, but 
stumble upon it, as it were, it is no thank to us. Though it be the fashion 



now-a-daj^s ; men read the word, and go to church ; why ? Not that they 
have, by balancing and the spirit of discretion, made choice of this as the 
best part, but they were bred up in it ; and they went with company, and 
custom hath drawn them to it ; they happen on good duties it may be 
against their wills ; and this is the reason of those many apostates that 
fall off to embrace this present world, as Demas did, 2 Tim. iv. 10 ; for 
they not being grounded, must needs waver in temptation. 

Fifthly, In the next place, when we have made this choice, u-emiist resolve 
with a deliberate resolution to stand by this choice. It is not enough to make an 
offer, or to cheapen, as we say, but come with resolution to buy, to choose. 
So David, Ps. cxix. 30, 31, 'I have chosen the way of truth, and have 
stuck to thy statutes ;' and ver. 57, ' I have said,' that is, set dow^n with 
myself, * that I would keep thy w^ords :' for the will rules in our souls. If 
we be good, our will is good. There are many wicked men that under- 
stand and are persuaded what is best ; but for want of this resolution and 
will they never make this determinate choice ; and many rail at good men 
and persecute them. Let such know that God will not take men by chance. 
If they choose the worst part, they must look for to reap the fruit of their 
choice. Assuredly God will not bring any to heaven, but such as have 
chosen it here, as the best part before they die ; and therefore it is no mat- 
ter what the world think or speak. Let us take up that notable resolu- 
tion of Joshua, ' I and my house will serve the Lord,' Josh. xxiv. 15. 

If we go alone it is no shame ; but to such as should accompany us, let 
them flout at us, and call us singular. If there be any way to heaven, the 
straightest,* and hardest, and least frequented is the right way. Let them 
take the delightful frequented broad way. Let us with Mary choose the bet- 
ter part. Though our choice be singular, it is Mary's choice. And take this 
as a sign that we are in the right way with Mary, if with her we still desire 
more and more growth in grace and knowledge, and never think that we 
know enough, that we are good enough, or faithful enough, and diligent 
enough in our ways. 

Sixthly, In the next place, come ive often, and sit at Christ's feet, as Mary 
here came to the ministry. ' He that heareth you heareth me,' saith Christ. 
Live under a powerful plain ministry. 

Lastly, Labour to draw on others to this choice. By so much the more 
earnest endeavour, by how much the more we have been a means to draw 
them to ill heretofore, and this will seal up all the rest, it being a sure sign of 
our perfect and sincere choice. 

' Which shall not be taken away from her.' 

The best things are diversely commended unto us, and here that good 
part is commended by the continuance, that it shall be ours for ever. The 
moans indeed shall end, for that time must come when Christ shall be all 
in all, but the fruit of them shall continue for ever in eternal glory; for 
hereby have we interest in the covenant, and the promises which are for 
ever assured to us, and the marriage between Christ and his church is an 
everlasting knot. We are an immortal seed. The image of God in our 
souls lasts for ever, and cannot be blotted out. 

Secondly, Our choosing tiiis good part is an evidence God hath cliosen us; 
and once chosen, ever chosen. Our actions are but reflex. He chose us, 
loved us, knows us, and therefore we choose, love, and know him ; and 
these being the gifts of God to us, are without repentance on his part. 
And who can take this part from us ? God will not, for he is unchange- 
* Qu, 'straitest'?— Ed. 

296 maky's choice. 

able. Enemies cannot, for, as Christ said, ' My Father is greater than 
all,' John X. 29, and Christ is Lord of hell and death. ' What shall separate 
us ? Not life nor death, principalities nor powers,' Eph. i. 21. Nothing 
can be able to separate. By gi-ace are wo kept to salvation, ' and by the 
power of God,' 1 Pet. i. 5 ; so as we shall not depart from him,' Jer. xxxii. 
40. ' The peace of God preserves us,' Philip, iv. 7; and this should com- 
fort lis and establish us. We may lose wealth, friends, honours, health, by 
death. Those that have this ' good part ' cannot lose it in all the changes 
that possibly can happen. 

This also may justify a Christian in his labours. It is for the best part, 
that is everlasting, that which will accompany him in de.^lh. The wicked 
men of this world they labour and spend themselves in getting that which, 
as far as they know, the next hour they may be constrained to part with. 
They vex themselves with care in getting, with care in keeping, and with 
vexing grief in the parting from them. 

In the next place, this should content them that are poor and despised in 
this ii-orld. If they have chosen this good part, they have that which will 
make them amiable in God's eyes ; and this riches shall no man be able 
to take from them ; and hereafter their enemies shall be ashamed, when 
they shall see these poor contemned ones to reign with Christ as princes a 
thousand years for evermore, and when they shall see those that were the 
rich men here to howl in perpetual misery. And therefore the considera- 
tion of this should fncouraije us to set ourselves upon the best things, and give 
no liberty to our consciences to rest till we have found that we have made 
this good choice ; give our souls no rest till we have made an habitation 
for the God of Jacob in our hearts. In death we all look for comfort. Is 
it a time then to look for a choice ? No. Men may shew a desire to 
repent, but few do it in earnest. They then send for ministers, but it is in 
fear. Few such ever die with comfort. However God in his mercy dispose 
of them, it must not be thus. If we look for comfort in death, we should 
now get oil in our lamps, now get the means of salvation ; be at charges 
for it; spare no cost or labour. It will quit our cost, and we shall find it. 
Use prayers privately by ourselves with our families ; care not for the jest- 
ing of men. He that shall judge the ' quick and the dead' v/ill justify us 
in that day, and will give us that good part that shall never be taken from 
us. But how shall we know whether we have chosen this good part ? I 
answer, we may gather divers signs from what hath been said ; as first, our 
affections and esteem will testify what is of greatest esteem with us, and 
beareth the highest place in our hearts. That thing we have chosen ; and 
therefore, if we love the means of grace principally, if we can say, with 
David, * that we love God's testimonies above silver and gold,' Ps. xix. 10, 
and admire at the value of them, oh ! how wonderful are thy command- 
ments ! how sweet ! how do I love thy law ! as if we count the feet beau- 
tiful of the messengers of peace, and the communion of saints sweet, this 
is a sign we have made this choice. Otherwise, if we count basely of the 
ministry, of the saints as of vile persons fit for scorn, whenas they are ' pre- 
cious in God's eyes,' Ps. cxvi. 15, whatever we say, we are proud, empty, 
and vain persons. Peter was of another mind, John vi. G8 ; and let not 
men think, because Christ is in heaven, they go not from him when they 
turn from the word, for Christ saith, ' He that heareth you heareth me, 
and he that despiseth you despiseth me,' Luke x. 16. And because he 
would honour his ministers' and apostles' doctrine, he did accompany it 
with a more large portion of his Spirit working effectually than his own 

maey's choice. 297 

immediate ministry, as appeareth by tlie multitudes that his apostles did 
convert at one sermon. In the next place, exaiiiine we ourselves if we he 
unlling to 2^c(>'t ivith. anytliiiuj for the means of salvation; for if we love any- 
thing, and choose it, rather than we will part with that we will part with 
anything. If we love the pearl, we will sell all to gain it. Far from the 
humour of some, that will sell the pearl, sell the word, sell the care of the 
souls of men, to men of corrupt conversation for filthy lucre. 

Thirdly, If we have made this choice, ice will hare confidence to justify it 
against all depravers* Michal's scorn cannot put David out of conceit with 
his dancing before the ark of God : ' I will be more vile than thus,' said 
he, 2 Sam. vi. 22. In vain we think to scorn usurers out [of] their trade. 
No. They find it is sweet. Their purse comforts them against all scorns. 
Thus it is with the child of God. Let men scorn, censure, rebuke, they 
comfort themselves; as Job, 'their witness is on high,' Job svi. 19, and 
that makes them not pass for men's censure. 

In the next place, if we find that when all things fail us, we do retire our- 
selves to this as our stag, that our good part shall not he taken aivag, nor ever 
will fail ; and thus David, Ps. Ixxiii. 26, ' My flesh and heart fail, but 
thou. Lord, art my portion for ever ; ' and make that use of it that David 
did : ' It is good for me to draw near to God.' As a man robbed of all 
his money, if his jewels be saved, he solaceth himself in them; and as 
Hezekiah, Isa. xxxviii. 3, if we can appeal to God in witness of our sin- 
cerity, ' Lord, remember how I have lived, how I have served thee in 
uprightness.' Then shall we find the comfort of this will never be taken 
away from us, else if we cannot thus appeal to God, we may call and cry 
to him but he will give us but a comfortless answer: 'Go to the gods 
which you have chosen,' Judges x. 14, let the world help you, let pleasures 
and riches deliver you ; you would not choose me while I gave you all 
blessings of life and health, now, ' Go, ye cursed,' Mat. xxv. 41. 
* That is, ' under valuers.' — G, 


(a) P. 294. — ' Observe from tlie translation of the words, which is more exactly 
thus, "Thou troublest thyself.'" The original is, Md^da, Md^da, fis^i/Mvai; %ai 
TVol3dt,r itiol voXXd, = ' art anxious and confused.' 

(6) P. 297. — ' The word signifies, in all sense and feeling, to approve the things 
that are excellent, or do difl'er.' The verb is ho'/JijATu, = to prove, test, assay. 
Cf. Bishop Ellicott in loco. G. 


Blessed are those servants, tvho7n the Lord, when he conieth, shall find 
watching. — Luke XII. 37. 

These words are part of a sermon that Christ made to his disciples con- 
cerning worldly cares, and concerning mercy to those that stand in need. 
Now in the last place he gives directions concerning watching : ' Blessed 
are those servants that shall be found watching when their master cometh.' 

It was the custom of servants in those times to stand at night to watch 
for their master's coming. 

Here Christ compares himself to a man that is lately married, solacing 
himself, and preparing a place for his spouse, and leaving a servant at home 
to wait for his return. Christ is gone into heaven to solace himself, and 
to prepare a place for us, and will come again to receive us into heaven. 
In the mean time we are to watch : ' Blessed are those servants that are 
found watching when their master cometh.' 

In these words we are to consider, first, our relation, that we are 
' servants.' 

And then our condition, we are servants appointed ' to watch for our 
master's coming,' for our Lord is not yet come. 

This life is a condition of waiting. We are always waiting for some- 
thing, till we are taken up to Christ. 

' Blessed are those servants that their lord shall find watching.' And 
then there is the relation and condition of them also, they wait for the 
return of their master. And their carriage is suitable, to wit, watching. 

And then the encouragement, ' Blessed are those servants, that their Lord, 
when he cometh, shall find so doing.' 

1. Concerning the relation of servants, in a word, some are so by office, 
as magistrates and ministers ; but all are servants as Christians. It was 
the best flower in David's garland to be a servant to the Lord ; and it is 
so for every one, be they never so great in dignity, to serve God ; for to 
serve him is to run into the most noble service of all; for all God's servants 
shall be kings, nay, they are kings. 

* ' The Christian's Watch ' and ' Coming of Clirist ' were appended to the 
Exposition of Philippians, c. iii. (4to, 16ay). [Sec note, VoL V. page 2.] They are 
from difl'erent texts, but, as being on tlie same subject, coukl not be well separated. 
Neither has a separate title-page, only the heading as above. — G. 

THE christian's WATCH. 299 

And then it is a rich and most beneficial service ; for we serve a Lord 
that will reward to a cup of cold water. It is not such a service as 
Pharaoh's was, to gather stubble ourselves ; but he will enable us to do, 
and where we fail he will pardon, and when we do anything he will reward, 
and when our enemies oppress us he will take our parts. 

Observe here how the Scripture speaketh, when we are servants, but do 
not our duty, and when we do it. When David had committed that sin in 
numbering the people, he said to Nathan, * Go tell David,' 2 Sam. xii. 1 ; 
but when he had an intent to build a temple to the glory of God, then he 
said, * Go tell my servant David,' 2 Sam. vii. 5. When we are doing our 
duty towards God, then we are his ' servants,' but when we are about other 
service, God will not own us. Israel were the people of God when they 
were good, but when they committed idolatry, then, ' Go tell thy people,' 
saith God to Moses, ' that thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt,' 
Deut. ix. 12. Let us therefore remember that we are God's servants, and 
if servants, then God will own us. 

2. Now to go on : ' Blessed are those servants whom their Lord, when he 
cometh, shall find watching.' 

We see here that there must be a constant waiting and watching for the 
coming of the Lord ; whence we may learn that it is the duttj mid office of 
every Christian constantly to watch and wait for the master s coming. 

Watching, you know, presupposes life ; and hence first waking and then 

Sense springs from spiritual life, and then waking. All that have spiritual 
life are not all watchers, and all that wake do not watch. Waking is when 
the spirits return into the senses, and are in exercise. You Imow sleep 
binds up the senses ; but when the spirits return the obstruction is dissolved. 

And then there is waking when all the powers are in a readiness, and 
when there is a discessation* of vapours that stopped the senses before. 

So, then, waking is the return of the spirits, either by some motion, as 
stirring up the body, or by some great shining light. So it is in the 
spiritual life. The vapours causeth sleep, but the Spirit of God, scattering 
a light, awakens us. By this light is meant either the light of his judg- 
ments, or the Hght of his mercies, or the light of divine truth ; for by all 
these sometimes we ai'e awakened. 

There is first a waking condition, and then we watch. I intend to speak 
of watching. Now waking is a preparation to this. 

' Watching' is when upon waking all the powers and graces are in exercise, 
preparing for good and avoiding of evil. 

Now, for bodily watching, we have nothing to do with that here, because 
here it is spiritually meant ; but yet taken so far as the body is an instru- 
ment of the soul in the action both of soul and body. As, when the body 
is surprised with any inordinate affection of the blessings of God, then the 
soul is unfit for watching ; and therefore it is specially meant of spiritual 

In the primitive church, they had watchings bodily and spiritually ; for, 
being under the tyranny of the heathen emperor, they had not liberty to 
serve God in the day. But afterwards they had their vigils, watching times, 
called vigils, preparations, which were before the word and sacraments, or 
when there was any great business in hand. And when superstition grew, 
they had their vigils too ; but they made laws to bind the people to observe 
them three times in a night ; but their prayers were in Latin. It was a per- 
* That is = discession, i.e. going away, departure. — G. 

300 THE christian's watch. 

Terse imitation of David, that rose at midnight to praise God ; that was 
when ho was stirred up upon some extraordinary occasion, when there was 
some danger or some other occasion near, not that he did it ordinarily. 
But we are fallen into a conti'ary course than the ancient church was, to 
spend whole nights in prayers ; for we have those that spend whole days 
in sleep. We cannot watch one hour with Christ ; but we can spend whole 
nights in vanity. 

Duct. That which I mean to stand upon at this time shall be this : 
that the carriage of a Christian in this ivorld is an estate of watching till 
Christ come home. 

I will shew this by some reasons why it should be so, and give some 
directions how we must be in a waking condition. 

Reason 1. The first reason is this : because ive are in danger of sin, and 
in danger hg sin. This occasions watching, especially being ever in danger 
of sin ; and besides many other sins, that sin of drowsiness, deadness, and 
heaviness of spirit ; for every man by experience finds this spiritual drowsi- 
ness hanging upon him sometimes more than other. Therefore we ought 
to have the soul in a better condition. 

And then we are in danger by sin, and that is more than I can express ; 
for by drowsiness oftentimes we fall into sins whereby we ofiend God and 
the good angels, and give Satan advantage, and grieve the good Spirit of 
God, and put a sting into all other troubles. Yea, sin makes the blessings 
of God which we enjoy, no blessings, and hinders us from praising God as 
we ought for his blessings. So that thus we may see we are in danger to 
sin and hg sin. Therefore we have need to keep a spiritual watch. 

Reason 2. Again, consider in what relation tve are i)i tJiis world, and ivhat 
the life of a Christian is compared 2(nto. We are travellers through our 
enemies' country. This is Satan's place where he reigns, being ' god of 
this world ;' therefore we had need to have our wits and senses about us. 

And then again, the worst enemy is within us, our own hearts ; which 
joins with Satan to betray us to the world, he being the god of this world. 
Now canying an enemy in our own bosom, therefore we need to watch, 
for that is the condition of travellers through their enemies' country. We 
also carry a jewel, a soul, a precious jewel in a brittle glass. If once the 
vessel break, all is lost. 

Reason 3. And then again, ice run in a race. Now those that run need 
have the goal in their eye, the price '^'' of their high calling; they had 
need look upon that which may encourage them. And of all men runners 
need be watchful. We are all runners ; therefore you see the necessity of 
a watch. 

Reason 4. Again, our whole life is not only a race but a warfare. And 
of all conditions a warfare needs watching ; for we have enemies to fight 
against that never sleeps. Satan our enemy never sleeps, ' but goes about 
like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour,' 1 Peter v. 8. We sleep, 
but Satan sleeps not, nor those that are his instruments. The poor dis- 
ciples slept, but Judas slept not. The traitors of the church sleep not, the 
poor disciples they fall asleep, and suffer Christ to manage his own cause. 
They have a time, and they will be sure to take it. We being therefore 
not only runners in a race, but born fighters, for every Christian is born 
so, therefore we must needs strive. 

Now the strongest enemy is in our own bosom. Satan is said to depart 
from Christ for a time, but he never departs from us. We have an enemy, 
* That is, 'prize.'— G. 


that is, corruption, which hinders us from good, and taints that good we 
do. We carry corruption in us that seeks to betray us, and will give us 
no rest at all. 

Reason 5. Again, not only thus, but we are all also steicanls, and we 
have all of us 'talents,' of which we are to give an account. Now an estate 
of account ought to be a watchful estate. 

We are all subject to give an exact account of that we have done in the 
flesh. Being therefore to give a strict account, we ought to be watchful. 

Reason 6. Again, men that are under observation need be watchful. Now 
there is no Christian but is in perpetual observation, for there is in him a 
conscience. Though it be asleep for a time, yet that conscience will awake 
and stare him in the face. You know what is said in Genesis of Cain, 
' Sin lieth at the door,' Gen. iv. 7. Conscience, like a sleepy dog, lieth 
at the door, and will fly in our face when we are going out of this world, 
and then it will be a heavy time. Thus we are in observation of conscience 
within us. 

We are likewise in observation of Satan, that watches all whatsoever we 
speak or do. 

And then God observes all that we do. All our sins are written with 
a ' pen of iron,' that they can never be gotten out of the soul without 

If conscience fail, yet God will not fail. Therefore, being under obser- 
vation, we had need be watchful. 

I hope there is none that will deny this, but that they ought to watch. 

Now, beloved, since our life is a vigil, a watching time, a warring time, 
and a race, we are therefore to stand in perpetual watch. 

Let us now consider how we may be stirred up to watch. I will not 
speak all that may be said, but only give you a few things to shew you how 
we may keep the Lord's watch. 

1. And that we may keep it the better, let iis labour to have waking con- 
siderations, that we may preserve our souls, because consideration is a help 
to watchfulness. Know and believe that there is a God that watches, and 
an enemy that watches, and [thatj conscience will do his office first or last ; 
to know and believe also that there is a day of judgment wherein we must 
answer all that we have done. 

2. Again, consider the end wherefore ^ve live here; and let us also consider 
how suitable our actions are to that end, and whether they be for our good 
and the salvation of our souls. 

3. And then to have a waking consideration of the presence of God, as 
Job had. ' Shall not God see if I do thus and thus ? ' Job xxxi. 4. And 
so Joseph, ' How shall I do this great wickedness and sin against God,' Gen. 
xxxix. 9. The eyes of the Lord goes through the world, seeing the good 
and bad. He hath an eye that never sleepeth. His eyes see into the dark 
thoughts of our hearts and sees our inward thoughts. All is naked to his 
eyes. Now the consideration of this may make us watch over our secret 
sins. What saith the heatben by the light of nature ? What if thou hast 
nobody to accuse thee? Thou hast a conscience and a God that sees 
thee.* Think then when thou art in secret, that thou art in the presence 
of God, who is a judge. Consider of this, that we must all appear before 
the judgment-seat of Christ. St Paul was kept in a watching condition by 
the consideration of this : ' Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade 
men; ' knowing also that it will be a terrible day, 2 Cor. v. 11. And 

* Seneca. — G. 

302 THE chkistian's watch. 

wlien Solomon would study an argument to startle young men, * Go to, 
young man, take thy pleasure ; but for all this, remember God will bring 
thee to judgm